Coastal Forests Benefit from Long-Term Human Habitation
Study shows that coastal temperate rainforest trees grow taller, wider, and healthier on First Nations’ habitation sites.
So much research highlights the negative legacies that people leave behind. Here is the opposite story.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers at the Hakai Institute, University of Victoria, and University of Waterloo shows that coastal trees grew taller, wider, and healthier on First Nations’ habitation sites. The favorable growing conditions are a result of nutrients emanating from shell middens and fire, which are then transferred to the trees.
“These forests are thriving from the relationship with coastal First Nations. For more than 13,000 years — 500 generations — people have been transforming this landscape. So this area that at first glance seems pristine and wild is actually highly modified and enhanced as a result of human behaviour,” says Andrew Trant, a former Hakai post-doctoral fellow and current Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo.
For more about the paper check out this article by Jessa Gamble in Hakai Magazine.
Citation: Trant, A.J., W. Nijland, K.M. Hoffman, D.L. Mathews, D. McLaren, T.A. Nelson, and B.M. Starzomski.2016. Intertidal resource use over millennia enhances forest productivity. Nature Communications 7: 12491 doi:10.1038/ncomms12491.