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The Garry Oak: More Than Just a Tree!

by | 20-12-2013 04:54 recommendations 0 recommendations

Hello Friends,


Recently I had to complete a study for geography class on the ecozones in Canada and the interactions between the humans and nature in those ecozones. A part of that was to study a endangered species in a particular ecozone. I did my study on the Garry Oak Tree in the Pacific Maritime ecozone. This ecozone lies on Canada's west coast and at the heart of is the rapidly growing city of Vancouver, now Canada's 3rd largest city and Canada's fastest growing area. This ecozone forms the backbone of the Canadian Boreal Temperate Rainforest home to a diversity of nature and animals second only to the Amazon. So let us read about this endangered tree in the Pacific Maritime Ecozone called the Garry Oak. It?s not just a tree it's an entire ecosystem!

A species that is endangered in the Pacific Maritime Ecozone is the Garry Oak, the Quercus Garryana. It is the only native oak of British Columbia and faces being overtaken by the Douglas fir which is much more common to the region. This is a very vital and increasingly less common species of tree in this ecosystem.

The Garry Oak is a species of oak that is a keystone species. A keystone species is one that is necessary in the functioning of an ecosystem. The Garry Oak woodlands support an entire ecosystem called the Garry Oak ecosystem. Therefore, it is the absolute critical species in its ecosystem. The Garry Oak ecosystem includes a multitude of species which are endangered themselves such as Lewis Woodpecker, Western Bluebird, and the Sharp Tailed Snake. The populations these species are directly linked to the health and numbers of the Garry Oak trees. That is why the Garry Oak is very critical to the ecosystem of the region.

However, the safety of the Garry Oak ecosystem is in peril due to the decrease in the number of Garry Oak trees in the ecosystem. This decrease in numbers is caused by three main factors: land development, fire prevention, and invasive species. The Garry Oak tree, even if it is native to the region, faces stiff competition for land and nutrients from the coniferous trees especially the Douglas fir. In the past, the Garry Oak would rely on disturbances in form of forest fire to sustain itself. The bark of the Garry oak is fire resistant whereas the Douglas fir is not. The Garry Oak could thrive in these fire prone areas and as long as these disturbances occurred, the coniferous trees would not over take it. The First Nations peoples were aware of this and they conducted purposeful burning of the woodlands to ensure the Garry Oak would survive. However, since large scale European habitation of the west coast, these brings have become less common and the competition faced by the Garry Oak from other trees has become greater and more harmful. Alongside being invaded by other tree species, the land occupied by the Garry Oak is being cleared for the wood of the tree and for farm land. Livestock grazing in the agriculture areas meant that the seeds of the oak would be trampled and would never grow back. Due to these factors by the 1990s the Garry Oak woodlands on Vancouver Island had been reduced by 90%. Those that still exists on primarily on mainland British Columbia face threats from urbanization and invasion of many types of shrubs and other trees both native and non-native such as the sweetbriar rose, snowberry, and Indian plum.

In order to help this tree thrive and thus not only protect the oak, but also protect an entire ecosystem we can take a multitude of steps on multiple levels. Firstly, we the individuals can help the ecosystem by reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the lawns. When these chemicals wash into the natural ecosystem, they will damage the natural processes that have allowed the Garry Oak to thrive for over 6000 years. Furthermore, we can refrain from importing any exotic, invasive species if we live in an area near a Garry Oak woodland. The seeds from these plants may be blown onto the nearby woodland or carried by animals into the woodland and result in more competition for the Garry Oak. Furthermore, land developers and farmers can recognize the importance of the Garry Oak woodlands and not develop the farm for industrial, farming or residential use. Lastly, governments can pass and enforce legislation more strictly to ensure that such an ecosystem does not become extinct.

Below are some pictures of my project presented in form of a scrapbook. It was a lot of fun to do this project but I also learned a lot. If you ever have extra time research an endangered species in your area, brainstorm some ideas on how you can help save it! It may be cliched but it?s true: everyone can do their part!



Nitish Bhatt

Ambassador (Canada)

Founder and volunteer of United4Literacy



54321garry oak tree

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  • Dormant user


  • says :
    thanks for sharing this
    Posted 30-12-2013 16:34

  • says :
    Thanks for the article.
    Posted 29-12-2013 17:59

  • says :
    its very multipurpose
    Posted 26-12-2013 23:37

  • says :
    Posted 26-12-2013 22:29

  • says :
    Nice article. Thanks for sharing.
    Posted 25-12-2013 19:49

  • says :
    Thanks for the information.
    Posted 24-12-2013 16:41

  • says :
    Thank you for sharing.
    Posted 23-12-2013 16:32

  • says :
    Great article.
    Posted 23-12-2013 16:31

  • says :
    quite interesting and good info
    Posted 23-12-2013 11:53

  • says :
    nice one
    Posted 23-12-2013 11:16

  • says :
    thank you for sharing
    Posted 23-12-2013 03:57

  • says :
    Thanks for sharing about garry oak tree
    Posted 23-12-2013 02:30

  • says :
    very interesting, do this tree found in our surrounding easily?
    Posted 22-12-2013 18:43

  • says :
    Nice article.
    Posted 22-12-2013 17:51

  • says :
    well written on Oak tree interesting
    Posted 22-12-2013 14:29

  • says :
    very much interesting and informative
    Posted 22-12-2013 11:59

  • says :
    thanks for the information
    Posted 22-12-2013 03:33

  • says :
    interestiing, thanks for sharing
    Posted 22-12-2013 02:04

  • says :
    good article on the Oak tree
    Posted 22-12-2013 01:26

  • says :
    very much interesting and informative
    Posted 21-12-2013 23:53

  • says :
    Thank you for sharing.
    Posted 21-12-2013 23:14

  • says :
    Thanks! Its great to see that you found it informative! I learned a lot from doing this project!
    Posted 21-12-2013 21:42

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 21-12-2013 21:14

  • says :
    i have now learn its multiple uses. Thanks for sharing this
    Posted 21-12-2013 20:56

  • says :
    Garry Oak tree its very informative
    Posted 21-12-2013 19:39

  • says :
    thank you very much for sharing.very appreciative.
    Posted 21-12-2013 10:13

  • says :
    Thanks for sharing
    Posted 21-12-2013 03:11

  • says :
    nic 1
    Posted 21-12-2013 02:59

  • says :
    the interesting idea to application, it's good article guy. like it!
    Posted 20-12-2013 20:09

  • says :
    @Cosmic Healer Didar: you can write articles under world report. You have to click on Our Actions in the top home bar and you will see world report. Once you click on world report you will see s blue button saying "write". Everyone can write articles..That's the great thing about Tunza!

    Posted 20-12-2013 19:43

  • says :
    Thanks everyone! It is great when the school curriculum provides so many opportunities to learn about the environment!
    Posted 20-12-2013 19:42

  • says :
    Very interesting. Thanks for the article.
    Posted 20-12-2013 18:51

  • says :
    Interesting and Informative report.
    Posted 20-12-2013 17:06

Arushi Madan

  • Arushi Madan says :
    Thank you for the interesting & informative report.
    Posted 20-12-2013 16:30

  • says :
    thanks for sharing :)
    Posted 20-12-2013 15:54

  • says :
    Thank you
    Posted 20-12-2013 13:56

  • says :
    everyone should have the opportunity to right report. Only ambasadors should not do it
    Posted 20-12-2013 13:55

  • says :
    Nice project!
    Posted 20-12-2013 11:44

  • says :
    Thank you for the article, the Garry Oak story is really interesting and informative :)
    Posted 20-12-2013 10:04

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