In the coming century climate variability is projected to increase along the Pacific Coast of Canada, increasing the need for land managers to understand how ecosystems change in response to new or enhanced disturbances. Southern British Columbia (BC) is thought to have experienced warm and dry climate conditions with higher than modern fire activity in the past, during the xerothermic interval (9500 - 7000 cal yr BP). In this study, I reconstructed past climate-fire-vegetation changes from a 13,000-year record from Lost Lake in Vancouver's Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, BC. Contrary to other sites, the moist coastal western hemlock forest at this site remained cool and moist with low fire activity throughout the xerothermic period. Instead, peak fire frequencies were observed during the cool and moist Neoglacial period (4500 cal yr BP - present), when human activity became prevalent. These results have implications for the managed watershed's resilience to fire and response to future warming conditions.
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Thesis advisor: Kohfeld, Karen
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