Reintroducing Prescribed Fire in the Garry Oak Ecosystems of Southeastern Vancouver Island

This report is structured in four main sections. Section 1, the Introduction, reviews the historic role of fire, as practiced by indigenous peoples world-wide, in the management of seasonally-dry savanna forest ecosystems, and describes the impacts of European colonial history on those traditional practices and the ecosystems they sustained. Section 2 provides an overview of prescribed fire programs and experience in:

• the Pacific Northwest, including fire history studies and ongoing Garry oak rehabilitation programs in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California: and

• other North American savanna communities that provide lessons on general vegetation response, pre-burn/burn/post-burn monitoring, burn planning and management, smoke management and public consultation.

Section 3 distills major “lessons learned” from the programs described above, and Section 4 suggests a cautious, sequenced, carefully planned and monitored approach to the re-introduction of prescribed fire to Garry oak ecosystems on Vancouver Island.