Garry oak meadow not a natural ecosystem

Re: Fort Rodd Hill returns to nature, News, April 6, 2012.

Re: Fort Rodd Hill returns to nature, News, April 6, 2012.

In your April 6, issue an official of Fort Rodd Hill park describes spending taxpayer’s money to “revert” a field to a “Garry Oak meadow.”

But Garry Oak “meadows” are not natural. According to the environmentally-oriented magazine Focus and other sources, such meadows were created and sustained by human use of fire to clear underbrush, promote the growth of edible plants such as camas, and encourage edible animals.

Left alone, Garry oaks would be in forest form, eventually replaced by other species that grow better in our wet climate, such as Douglas fir.

Garry oaks here may be near the northern limit of their viable range — they are plentiful in Washington, Oregon, and California, where they are referred to by names such as Oregon white oak. (Both Garry and Eastern white oaks are in the “white oak” subgenus.)

Keith Sketchley

Saanich