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Garry oak ecosystem stand history in southwest British Columbia: Implications for restoration, management and population recovery

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Understanding the ecological history of an ecosystem is essential in the development of management and restoration strategies. For example, the elimination of fire in Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems often leads to encroachment by conifer species like Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). We used dendroecological methods to examine history and establishment patterns of three structurally different Garry oak ecosystem stands in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. We then assessed if reintroducing fire is an appropriate management and restoration tool in the different stand types. The combined Garry oak establishment histories from the three sites are broadly consistent with the regional pattern established in other studies. However, recommendations to use fire as a restoration and management tool are site dependent. Local characteristics, such as soil depth and land use change, may be the key to restoration strategies, especially in ecosystems with high fragmentation and challenging growing conditions.
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