Research Branch

See below to download.

Landscape Ecology and Natural Disturbances: Relationships to Biodiversity - Part 2 of 7

Author(s) or contact(s): J. Parminter and P. Daigle
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Biodiversity
Series: Extension Note
Other details:  Published 1997. Hardcopy is available.


January 2000: Policy direction for biodiversity is now represented by the Landscape Unit Planning Guide. This Extension Note should be regarded as technical background only.

Natural disturbance statistics grab your attention:
- Hurricane-force winds flatten over 30 000 ha of forest land on northern Vancouver Island in the winter of 1906.
- Small isolated "hot spots" of mountain pine beetle infestations are detected in southwestern British Columbia in the early 1970s. These infestations irrupt rapidly a decade later into massive outbreaks covering 460 000 ha of lodgepole pine forests.
- Wildfire burns over 348 000 ha of British Columbia's forest land in 1982. One fire alone covers 182 725 ha - more than half of the total area burned.

These extraordinary events can mean different things to different people: a reduced timber harvest, a lost wilderness reserve, an unsightly recreation area. Many of the feelings generated embrace a sense of loss and the belief that nature is on the rampage. But while these scenarios may appear to conflict with and impair a multitude of forest resource values, these natural disturbances show evolution in action and can actually maintain that increasingly precious global treasure-biodiversity.

British Columbia's natural ecosystems have all evolved, and are still evolving, under the influence of natural disturbances such as wildfire, wind, and insects (Figure 1, Table 1). To maintain a range of ecosystems and habitats and to maintain biodiversity, a new approach in forest management applies the concepts of landscape and disturbance ecology.

Keywords: Landscape Ecology, Natural Disturbances

Download Extension Note 10 PDF file (730 KB)

To view this document you need the current version of
Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from the Adobe Web Site.

Updated April 17, 2007