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Relationship between vital attributes of Ktunaxa plants and natural disturbance regimes in Southeastern British Columbia Mah, Shirley

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between plant resources of the Ktunaxa people and the natural disturbance regimes in southeastern British Columbia and how reduced fire frequency may have affected the plant resources. The main objectives were to determine the vital attributes or fire survival strategy for each Ktunaxa plant; validate Rowe's hypothesis on the relationships between different species groups (set of vital attributes) and fire cycle length for southeastern British Columbia; and predict which Ktunaxa plants would most likely be affected by reduced fire frequency. The proportions of species groups, based on the Ktunaxa plants and their assigned vital attributes, were determined for 13 Biogeoclimatic (BEC) sub zone/variants, ranging from low elevation ponderosa pine to subalpine ecosystems. I used a one-way nested ANOVA to test the relationships between species groups and fire cycle length. The data for southeastern British Columbia tended to be consistent with Rowe's hypothesis. Examples are presented of Ktunaxa plants most likely to be affected by reduced frequency of fire: plants that can resprout from underground parts; plants that produce wind-carried seed; and shade intolerant plants that store seed in the soil.

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