BEN # 224

Adolf Ceska 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, B.C.
 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

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."]

Congratulations, Nancy!

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.


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

From: Pam G. Krannitz <Pam.Krannitz at>
      and Bruce A. Bennett <Bruce.Bennett at>

[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
plant species.

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
burned plots.

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
root stocks.

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.

From: Adolf Ceska <aceska at>

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
   Order from:
      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
   Order from:
      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
picture section!).

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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