BEN # 224
aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Tue May 18 00:13:44 EST 1999
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No. 224 May 17, 1999
aceska at victoria.tc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
DR. NANCY TURNER NAMED TO THE ORDER OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
From: "Times Colonist" - May 12, 1999 - p. A3
Ethnobiologist Dr. Nancy Turner will receive the Order of
British Columbia June 17 in a ceremony at Government House.
"Nancy Turner, a professor in University of Victoria school of
environmental studies, has an international reputation for her
scientific work. She has donated more than 25 years to document-
ing the endangered knowledge of First Nations groups, focusing
on their interactions with the ecosystem for food, medicine and
other material." [See also BEN # 173: "Professor Nancy J. Turner
received 1997 R. E. Schultes Award."]
P.S. Jean Jaques Andre is another 1999 recipient of the Order of
British Columbia. He worked with the B.C. Provincial Museum (now
the Royal B.C. Museum) and designed most of their exhibits.
NORTHWEST ECOSYSTEM ALLIANCE WANTS TO PROTECT LOOMIS FOREST
The Loomis Forest Fund, launched to protect 25,000 acres of
rugged and pristine state-owned land near the Canadian border,
aims to raise $13,1 million by July 1 to purchase and protect it
from logging. The Loomis Forest, a largely roadless area in
northern Okanogan County, Washington, is a popular recreation
area that is host to numerous wildlife species, including
grizzly bear and the largest U.S. population of Canada lynx in
the lower 48 states.
Washington State's Common School Construction Trusts use the
sale of logging rights on state land to finance school build-
ings. Money raised by the Loomis Forest Fund would be deposited
in the trust fund and can be used for that purpose.
The campaign has raised $6.6 million in six months towards the
goal of $13,1 million needed by July 1 to purchase the forest.
About 3,500 contributors have given to the Loomis Forest Fund.
For more information about Loomis Forest Fund, call 206-264-0477
or visit the campaign Web page at
FIRE AS A RESTORATION TOOL IN THE SOUTH OKANAGAN SHRUB-STEPPE
From: Pam G. Krannitz <Pam.Krannitz at ec.gc.ca>
and Bruce A. Bennett <Bruce.Bennett at gov.yk.ca>
[This paper was presented on the "Helping the Land Heal" con-
ference and published in the Conference Proceedings:
Krannitz, P.G. & B.A. Bennett. 1999. Fire as a restoration tool
in the South Okanagan shrub-steppe. Pp. 224-225 in Egan, B.
[ed.] Helping the Land Heal: Ecological Restoration in
British Columbia - Conference Proceedings. B.C. Environmental
Network Educational Foundation, Vancouver, B.C. 251 p.]
Grassland ecosystems of the Southern Interior of British Colum-
bia evolved with fire as a disturbance regime. Fire turns back
the successional clock, prevents tree invasion, and rejuvenates
some plant species. Restoration of grasslands should include the
reintroduction of fire, but in shrub-steppe ecosystems we must
be careful to not burn too frequently, or the dominant shrubs
will not be able to establish.
For example, in the Intermountain Region of western United
States, just south of the south Okanagan in British Columbia,
the alien invasive annual grass, downy brome (cheatgrass, Bromus
tectorum), has become dominant in habitats normally occupied by
shrubs such as sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and antelope
bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) (McArthur et al., 1990). These
shrub-steppe ecosystems with fire cycles normally upwards of 50
years, have turned into annual grasslands with a fire peri-
odicity of 1-3 years. Downy brome matures by June and leaves a
flammable stalk that can easily be ignited by lightning during
thunderstorms in the summer drought. Shrub establishment has
been inhibited and large expanses of habitat necessary to shrub-
steppe wildlife has been lost. In addition, downy brome competi-
tively excludes other native species by rapidly monopolizing
early spring moisture reserves, often the only source of mois-
ture available to germinating seeds and young seedlings (Melgoza
et al., 1990).
In 1993, a fire occurred in the south Okanagan that made us re-
think the interaction of fire with downy brome, in that here the
wildfire event eliminated downy brome from intensely burned
plots. This enabled establishment of the perennial bunchgrass
needle-and-thread-grass (Stipa comata) in ungrazed plots, and
the perennial sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus) in grazed
The fire occurred through Ecological Reserve 100, otherwise
known as Haynes Lease Ecological Reserve. We would like to thank
BC Parks and associated personnel, especially Judy Millar, for
letting us do this project in the Ecological Reserve. The
wildfire occurred on July 9, 1993 with varying degrees of
severity. There was a strong fenceline effect. Areas outside of
the Ecological Reserve did not burn as severely because they
were heavily grazed by cattle and did not have much plant
material to burn. We documented five classes of burn severity
based on how much remained of above ground vegetation: 1) un-
burned, 2) lighter than light (only on grazed side) - some herbs
such as Antennaria spp. survived the fire, 3) light - some
resprouting of shrubs and herb layer, 4) moderate - burned, but
still standing shrub layer, and 5) intense (only on ungrazed,
Ecoreserve side) - totally blackened and falling shrub layer.
Plant re-establishment following the fire was documented in 298
small (20 X 50 cm: Daubenmire, 1959) permanent plots.
Plant density (number of individuals per species per plot), and
percent cover were measured in June of 1994, spring of 1995 and
June of 1997. Forty species of plants were found within all
plots just one year after the wildfire. In a multispecies
analysis (using Canonical Correspondence Analysis: CANOCO), both
cattle grazing and burn severity affected the distribution of
In general, perennial grasses needle-and-thread grass (Stipa
comata) and Sandberg's bluegrass (Poa secunda) were associated
with more intensely burned plots along with herbaceous peren-
nials long-leaved phlox (Phlox longifolia), pale comandra (Com-
andra umbellata), and the shrub smooth sumac (Rhus glabra).
Disturbance adapted plants such as the weed Russian thistle
(Salsola kali), the native annual evening star (Mentzelia
albicaulis), and the perennial bunchgrass red three-awn (Aris-
tida longiseta) were associated more with the grazed section
than the ungrazed Ecological Reserve. Interestingly, even though
downy brome is associated with fire in the Intermountain West,
we found that at our plots, it was more associated with plots
that did not burn, or that did not burn severely. Upon analysis
of the density data of this individual species, in the year
following the wildfire, downy brome was virtually eliminated
from the most severely burned plots, while remaining high in
density in the unburned plots. Lightly and moderately burned
plots also had fewer individuals. In 1995 the downy brome
population was starting to reestablish in the burned plots, but
the intensely burned plots still had far fewer individuals than
the unburned plots. This was especially so in the ungrazed
Ecological Reserve. In the grazed burned areas outside of the
Ecological Reserve the elimination of downy brome lasted only
one year. By 1997 downy brome had reestablished in all plots so
that there was little difference between unburned and intensely
Though we did not measure seeds in the seedbank to test whether
the wildfire eliminated viable downy brome seeds, other research
in similar areas suggest this is so. Hassan and West (1986)
showed that downy brome seeds were reduced by half in burned
plots, and that the effect was highly significant in more
severely burned plots. Similarly, under experimental conditions,
heating soil reduced emergence of downy brome seedlings as
compared to unheated soil (Blank et al., 1994). The heat of the
fire would not have to penetrate deeply because there is
evidence to suggest that a downy brome population is established
from the previous year's seeds. The seeds largely do not remain
viable in the seed bank after the first year (Crist and Friese,
The apparent contradiction between these and our results and the
conversion of shrub-steppe habitat to fire susceptible annual
downy brome grasslands, can be explained by fire temperature.
More frequent fires burning grass would not burn as severely as
those that burned shrub-steppe, because the fuel loading would
be reduced. Cooler fires would not burn as many downy brome
seeds. Perhaps one way to get rid of downy brome in the sites
where it now dominates would be to add fuel to the system, and
then plant native seeds if none remain.
Our data showed that after the wildfire, the two to three year
window of reduced downy brome density resulted in establishment
of native perennial bunchgrasses. In the ungrazed Ecological
Reserve, needle-and-thread grass was initially absent from
unburned plots, the same ones that were dominated by downy
brome. In the first year following the wildfire, seedlings of
needle-and-thread grass emerged in the burned plots, especially
so in the moderate and intensely burned plots; again, the same
plots now without downy brome. Percent cover of needle-and-
thread grass more than tripled between 1994 and 1997 (from less
than 2 % to over 6 %), while density increased only slightly in
the intensely burned plots (from 0.7 to 1.0), indicating that
small individuals germinating in 1994 survived and grew.
In the plots grazed by cattle, sand dropseed (Sporobolus crypt-
andrus) benefitted from the one year gap left by downy brome,
but not to the same extent as needle-and-thread grass under
ungrazed conditions. Sand dropseed is known to be a native
bunchgrass that is disturbance adapted and is considered an
increaser, so it is not surprising that sand dropseed was more
abundant on the grazed plots, and that it also responded well to
the wildfire. Moderately burned plots had the greatest number of
sand dropseed individuals, especially just after the fire, but
lightly burned plots had the greatest cover of sand dropseed.
Over the three years, number of sand dropseed individuals
decreased in moderately burned plots from an average of just
under 4.5 per square meter in 1994 to just under 2.5 individuals
in 1997, suggesting that many new seedlings did not survive.
Percent cover increased slightly from 5% to just over 7 %. In
lightly burned plots, density was lower (2.5 individuals per
square metre in 1994 to 2 in 1997), but percent cover was
highest (14.5 % in 1994 to 18.5 % in 1997), suggesting that the
individuals were largely resprouting from already established
These results suggest that hot summer fires can be beneficial to
the restoration of south Okanagan grassland communities, espe-
cially under ungrazed conditions. Downy brome may be eliminated
for a long enough period of time to permit seedling estab-
lishment of native perennials if the fire is severe enough to
burn or kill downy brome seeds in the seed bank.
Blank, R.R., L. Abraham, and J. A. Young. 1994. Soil heating,
nitrogen, cheatgrass, and seedbed microsites. J. Range.
Manage. 47: 33-37.
Crist, T.O., and C.F. Friese. 1993. The impact of fungi on soil
seeds: implications for plants and granivores in a semiarid
shrub-steppe. Ecology 74: 2231-2239.
Daubenmire, R. 1959. A canopy-coverage method of vegetational
analysis. Northwest Sci. 33:43-64.
Hassan, M.A., and N.E. West. 1986. Dynamics of soil seed pools
in burned and unburned sagebrush semi-deserts. Ecology 67:
McArthur, E.D., E.M. Romney, S.D. Smith, and P. T. Tueller
(eds.). 1990. Proceedings - symposium on cheatgrass invasion,
shrub die-off, and other aspects of shrub biology and manage-
ment. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station,
General Technical Report INT-276, Ogden, UT.
Melgoza, G., R.S. Nowak, and R.J. Tausch. 1990. Soil water
exploitation after fire: competition between Bromus tectorum
(cheatgrass) and two native species. Oecologia 83:7-13.
BOOK: MUSHROOMS OF EASTERN CANADA & NORTHEASTERN NORTH AMERICA
From: Adolf Ceska <aceska at victoria.tc.ca>
Barron, George. 1999. Mushrooms of Ontario and eastern Canada.
Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton. 336 p. ISBN 1-55105-199-0
[soft cover] Cost: CDN $26.95
Lone Pine Publishing
206, 10426-81st Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta, T6E 1X5
Phone: (403) 433-9333 FAX: (403) 433-9646
Barron, George. 1999. Mushrooms of northeastern North America.
Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton. 336 p. ISBN 1-55105-201-6
[soft cover] Cost: US $19.95
Lone Pine Publishing
1901 Raymond Ave. SW, Suite C
Renton, WA 98055
Phone: (425) 204-5965 FAX: (425) 204-6036
In the Pacific Northwest, Arora's "Mushrooms Demystified" is the
most commonly used reference to identify mushrooms. Arora's book
is usually complemented with Phillips' collection of photographs
in his "Mushrooms of North America" or by photographs in "The
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" (what a
pity that the latter book used only the common names in its
In spite of its geographic area (Ontario, eastern Canada and NE
of the U.S.A.) this book is an important addition to the iden-
tification guides even for our area. 875 superb colour
photographs illustrate over 600 species of fungi. Dr. Barron
estimated that about 500 of these species also occur in western
Canada. The author has included slime moulds (Myxomycota), and
has paid more attention to mushrooms of "lesser interest" such
as "sac fungi" (Ascomycota), jelly fungi, coral and tooth fungi,
and bracket fungi. Dr. Barron paid special attention to small
mushrooms and his photographic skills are remarkable. Look at
Mycena epipterygia (p. 287) or Mycena rorida (p. 283)!
You should also visit Dr. Barron's web page
for examples of photographs published in this book.
The book is well organized. Thumbnail pictures on the back
cover, and several pages of thumbnail pictures at the beginning
of the book take you quickly to a particular group of fungi. Six
keys in various parts of the book help with the identification
of those genera where one cannot get a reliable identification
just by matching pictures with an unknown mushroom.
The book is very well produced and both the author and the
publisher should be congratulated for their achievement.
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