Issues in southwest Alberta are the same issues everywhere where there has been settlement and traditional ways have been disrupted
In the Crown, aspen tend to be taking over what used to be grassland. Waterton and the Blood Timber Limit contain some of the most intact areas of fescue prairie
This landscape has changed a lot since the 1800s: bison, fire, and wolves were eliminated; the elk population exploded; and cattle were brought in.
To be effective, ecological restoration should draw on all types of knowledge including local knowledge and TEK (knowledge and practices passed orally from generation to generation informed by strong cultural memories, sensitivity to change, and values that include reciprocity)
Grasslands co-evolved with people using fire on them and bison grazing. TEK practices can increase biodiversity and ecological resiliency by creating fine-grained patchy landscape mosaics
Over the years had about 130 members of Kainai First Nation received fellowships to join in the field study. Many of them were hired as technicians and are now leaders in the natural resource field.
The Kenow wildfire did not cause non-native grasses to erupt. The proportion of native grass stayed the same, detection of invasive grasses was the same or lower, aspen canopy was reduced, and the winter diet for elk and bison were remarkably similar
Created an index that was peer reviewed to break out into extreme fire severity The proportion of mineral soil skyrocketed, grass cover decreased, but shrub cover remained similar post Kenow fire.
The proportion of native grasses in prairie was unchanged from before and after the Kenow fire
Fires are helping keep aspen down in aspen stands. There is no to extremely low ungulate herbivory on aspen post fire.
This media record is part of a series:
The Crown Managers Partnership partnered with the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network and others to bring you the 2021 Fire in the Crown of the Continent Forum, which was held virtually from March 22nd to March 26th.
The Crown Managers Partnership is a multi-jurisdictional partnership among federal, state, provincial, tribal, and first nation agency managers and universities in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia. Annual forums facilitate networking opportunities, build collaboration, and deepen understanding of common issues in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.
View the Forum Report (in the Files block) with summaries from presentations and special sessions (published November 2021).