Species at Risk
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada and Garry Oak Ecosystems
Why are the Garry oak ecosystems in danger?
Garry oak trees at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site © Parks Canada / Chris Cheadle / 2003
Agricultural and urban development have left less than five per cent of the original Garry oak habitat in a near-natural condition, and even this habitat is threatened.
Key threats to the ecosystems include:
- urban development - causes habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as isolating some of the Garry oak ecosystems and species;
- coniferous trees and bushes - without regular fires, may take over some Garry oak habitat, and
- introduced invasive plants and animals - compete with native species and impact native habitats.
Why is it important to preserve Garry oak ecosystems?
Two hundred years ago, Garry oak ecosystems covered more than 10,000 hectares on southeast Vancouver Island. Fewer than 500 of these hectares remained in 1997.
When parcels of habitat become too small or heavily impacted, the ecosystems can no longer sustain their species. Also, despite the fact that they are rare, if restoration and protection continue effectively and if regional warming trends continue these ecosystems could eventually expand to cover larger areas of southern British Columbia ; this would make Garry oak ecosystems "the ecosystems of the future".