Assessment using TerrSet geovisualisation of the temporal and spatial effectiveness of the prescribed burn program in re-establishing the oak savannah habitat at the Pinery Provincial Park
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Oak savannah is a plant community of widely spaced deciduous trees with a canopy cover of between 25 to 35%, allowing grasses and other ground cover vegetation to thrive, providing habitats for numerous plant and animal species, including many endangered species. Historically, oak savannah covered large areas across North America but only 1% of these habitats still remain. Today, almost half of the oak savannah habitat in North America is found at the Pinery Provincial Park in Southern Ontario, but this has been threatened due to fire suppression, overgrazing and pine planting. Programs have been developed to re-establish the oak savannah at the Pinery, using a combination of deer population control, pine removal and prescribed burns. This thesis uses field observations together with TerrSet geovisualisation tools, satellite photographic records, and field mapping data to assess the temporal and spatial effectiveness of the programs to re-establish the oak savannah at the Pinery, and it makes future projections out to 2032. The results indicate that the oak savannah at the Pinery has been recovering since 2007, but forward projection indicates this may decline by 2032 unless a more intensive and frequent program of prescribed burns is adopted.
- Undergraduate theses