Ignition Point: The Underappreciated Influence of Indigenous Burns

Throughout April and May this year, Alberta was still receiving plenty of snow. With no end in sight, there was an element of grim humour to the announcement that wildfire season had begun. The onset of the Chuckegg Creek fire near High Level, covering approximately 230,000 hectares as of May 31st, leaves us with no doubt that we are now firmly into wildfire season.In both the present and the past, it is clear that humans…

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Bringing oblique photography and wildfire research together using viewsheds

[This post also appears on the Mountain Legacy Project website.]  The Landscapes in Motion Oblique Photography Team has the daunting task of scaling mountains to repeat photographs taken up to a century ago by land surveyors. In previous posts we’ve described how these intrepid researchers locate sites, line up their photos, and what it’s like working in the field. With the Landscapes in Motion teams now analyzing data and sharing the results, our teams are…

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Meet the Modelling Team!

Our field teams collect a massive amount of data from mountaintops and forests across the Eastern slopes of the Rockies. Because our team has the good fortune of such a big dataset, we can ask questions at a broader scale than a lot of other projects - we are even starting to predict what the future of these landscapes might look like.When it comes to answering these big scale questions, our Modelling Team is not…

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A Wildfire Story: Decoding the Past with Tree Scars

Disturbances like fires and insect infestations literally leave a mark on trees, creating scars in annual tree rings. Since our research team is interested in the fire history of the landscape, we need to be able to tell fire scars reliably apart from scars left by insects. With two full field seasons now in the books, Dr. Cameron Naficy’s Fire Regime Team have become local experts in this challenging task. In this post, we describe…

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Burning Territory: Indigenous Fire Stewardship

Landscapes in Motion has a mission to understand the fire history of Alberta’s southwest Rockies, which includes looking at pre-industrial fire and landscape patterns and seeing how they’ve changed. There are a lot of reasons that the nature and frequency of fire has changed in this region, and one very important reason was the suppression of Indigenous burning practices by European settlers and the Canadian government. We are honoured to present the following guest post…

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Placing oblique photos on the map

[This post also appears on the Mountain Legacy Project website. You can check out the MLP blog here.] The Landscapes in Motion Oblique Photo Team has the daunting task of scaling mountains to repeat photographs taken up to a century ago by land surveyors. In previous posts we’ve described how these intrepid researchers locate sites, line up their photos, and what it’s like working in the field. With the summer fieldwork over, we now get to learn how…

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Looking back on the Kenow Wildfire: Reflections from a Parks Canada Scientist

It’s been over a year since the Kenow Wildfire burned through Waterton Lakes National Park and surrounding forests, prompting evacuations and affecting the park’s ecology in profound ways. While the Landscapes in Motion team works to reconstruct past fire regimes, present-day wildfires like Kenow remind us of the wide-reaching effects these events have on the people living and working in forested areas. We spoke with Kim Pearson, an Ecosystem Scientist with Waterton Lakes National Park,…

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Ceres Barros wins the Mitacs Elevate Award!

By Ceres Barros and Sonya OdsenIt started out as a typical day for Ceres Barros, a Post-Doctoral Fellow on the Landscapes in Motion Team. She was finishing up converting forest inventory data so she could analyse the vegetation dynamics of fire severity. It was then she heard the “Ding!” of her email inbox with the news that she had won the Mitacs Elevate award. Her tea break came sooner than usual that day as she…

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The truth is in the tree rings… if you crossdate them

We spent a lot of this summer talking about what our field crews were up to. But what comes next? For the Fire Regime Team, there is more to come as they begin to process the samples they collected this summer.When the Fire Regime Team completed this year’s field season, they had collected about 1,300 tree core and 250 fire scar (tree cookie) samples from over 60 plots. It was a massive undertaking, but it…

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Looking back at the 2018 LIM Field Tour

On Wednesday, September 12, Landscapes in Motion hosted its first-ever field tour. Researchers mingled with individuals who live, work, and recreate in the study area; people who want to know more about these landscapes and what we can learn from them. By coming together partway through the project, our team hopes that this tour marks the beginning of healthy conversations about the past and future of this landscape. It was a chilly morning, but everyone…

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