Natural disturbances such as wildfires and forest insect outbreaks can have a significant impact on forest age structure and species composition; timber supply, habitat availability for many plant and animal species, and the potential for future disturbances. Significant forest fires and forest insect and disease outbreaks have been mapped in British Columbia (BC) since the 1920's. However these records have not previously been readily accessible to researchers, resource managers or the public. Since 2001 we have collected and digitized all available historical and contemporary maps of wildfire and insect outbreaks in BC. The spatial data derived from these maps have been converted to a common ArcInfo format and follow the provincial projection standard (Albers NAD83). They will be available for further analysis by researchers, and accessible to practitioners and the public through Internet map displays. The data are exceptional in historical and geographic extent. Analysis and expert interpretation of natural disturbance risks and patterns will be carried out in 2003/04. A better understanding of the probability, frequency, pattern, and interactions between natural disturbance events (fire, insects) will help in the development of sustainable management plans and practises in BC. New map products will also help increase public awareness of the role and risks of natural disturbances.
Taylor, Steve W.. 2004. Development and analysis of a BC natural disturbance database. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report