UBC Undergraduate Research

Prescribed burning case study : evaluating the success of using prescribed fire for the restoration of Douglas-fir grasslands Banff National Park Francis, Emily


Prescribed burning has a variety of uses throughout the forest industry. It is utilized as a tool within parks as well as within industry. There are many steps to planning and implementing a prescribed burning program in order to effectively achieve goals while preventing adverse results and keeping the entire program safe. Many pre-burn steps must be completed before moving towards the burning stage. Prescribed burning implementation is a lengthy process and includes numerous resources and personnel. Before burning occurs, managers follow a series of steps as a tool to mitigate risks and safety issues and to attempt to achieve the set goals and objectives of the project. Without proper planning, prescribed burning would not be a viable tool within the forestry sector. Within Parks Canada, prescribed burning is widely used for a number of reasons including habitat enhancement, restoration, and research. In 2003 a prescribed burn was completed with a variety of pre-treatments and ignition methods. The goal of the program was to evaluate how effective prescribed burning was in restoring Douglas Fir forests within Banff National Park. The prescribed burn evaluated a number of plots immediately after burning in 2004 to see which treatments and ignition methods had the most survival in the overstory of Douglas-fir. In order to look at the midterm fire effects, the study was revisited in 2011 and information was gathered again. By reviewing the project a second time, lag effects could be seen as well as changes in patterns between the post fire and the midterm. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the planning process associated with implementing a prescribed burn. As a secondary objective, analysis and evaluation of data from a prescribed burn is presented. Conclusions and results from these findings as well as comparison from earlier data is also completed.

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