FIRE HISTORY SINCE THE MEDIEVAL WARM PERIOD IN THE STRAIT OF GEORGIA LOWLANDS, SOUTHWESTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION
This project aims to understand natural disturbance regimes (i.e., fire history) for the Strait of Georgia Lowlands, focusing on two lacustrine sites from southeast Vancouver Island (Somenos Lake) and the Fraser Valley (Chadsey Lake). To provide historical data on the natural variability of fire disturbances, we analyze radiometrically dated sediments for macroscopic charcoal over the last 2000 years. Preliminary results reveal 7 charcoal peaks over the last 3500 years at Somenos Lake with a considerable increase in peak magnitude over the Anthropocene. Analysis of these results will potentially allow us to discern ecocultural prescribed burning from natural fire events prior to western colonization, as well as improve our understanding of the natural range of ecosystem variability associated with climatic periods such as the Little Ice Age (1400-1700 AD) and the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD).