Fire ecology of the forests of Waterton Lakes National Park
LccQK 938 F6 M22 1973 Microfiche
LcshForest ecology - Alberta
Waterton Lakes National Park (Alta.)
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AbstractThe aim of this study is to examine the relationship of fire to the forests of Waterton Lakes National Park. The study's central concern is with the spatial and temporal patterns of fire in the ecosystem and how they have been affected by changes in land use. Some researchers in the field state that the impact of the white man's arrival in Alberta's east-slope environment during the last half of the nineteenth century greatly increased the occurrence and extent of fire. This thesis considers whether the European had a similar impact on Waterton Lakes National Park. An important aspect of this problem is aboriginal man's impact on the landscape and evidence for the Indian as a cause of fire is also considered. An attempt is made to reconstruct the fire history for the park by examining the following evidence: 1. tree-ring analysis, 2. paleobotanical studies, 3. archaeological studies, and 4. historical sources. This evidence indicates that there was an apparent increase in the frequency and extent of fire for the last half of the nineteenth century, but, in fact, these are later fires which have masked the severity of earlier fires. Because of this apparent increase in the occurrence of fire, the Federal Government initiated a strict policy of fire prevention, and since 1911, the park has been successfully protected from fire. A major contention of the thesis is that fire is an integral part of the park's forest environment, and the ecological consequences that fire protection constitutes for this environment are discussed. The evidence examined includes the author's study of vegetation succession, as well as the work of others on insect, disease, and fire hazard classifications for the park. The consequences of complete fire protection are a reduction in species diversity and animal habitat, and an increase in the fire, insect, and disease hazard. The thesis concludes with a recommendation for re-introducing fire to the park's forest environment.
Bibliography: p. 175-183.
CitationMacKenzie, G. A. (1973). Fire ecology of the forests of Waterton Lakes National Park (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/18321
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