An investigation into the influence of slope on trail erosion and the effects of trails on plant communities within Garry Oak and associated ecosystems in Mount Douglas Park, Vancouver Island
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SubjectGarry Oak ecosystem; species diversity; species richness; trail erosion; trail slope; vegetation community
Urban parks provide refuge for species at risk, and maintain and preserve biodiversity in densely populated settings. Soil erosion on trails, which can have negative impacts on the surrounding plant communities, is a growing concern for park managers. To characterize the effects of slope on trail erosion, and trail presence on plant communities within Garry oak ecosystems, a study was conducted within Mount Douglas Park, Saanich, British Columbia. Four trails were assessed for trail erosion, followed by vegetation community assessment. The degree of erosion was significantly different between all trails observed in the current study, but was not determined to be a function of trail slope. The presence of trails was found to affect plant community composition, where species richness and species diversity were higher adjacent to trails than at a distance from the trail. This study can provide park managers with insight into the ecological impacts of urban recreation.
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