How has the hot summer affected Uplands Park?

by Anonymous

How has Uplands Park handled climate change? If current conditions continue, how will the local ecosystems be affected in the long term?



An Introduction to Uplands Park
Uplands Park is a Garry Oak Meadow located in Oak Bay, B.C. The 76-acre park is located along the ocean next to Cattle Point. This ecosystem shows what some areas of Greater Victoria were like before development.

Native Species in Uplands Park
  • Garry Oak
  • Hard Hack
  • Black Hawthorn
  • Pacific Willow
  • Trembling Aspen
  • Bearded Owl-clover
  • Bigleaf Lupine
  • Carolina Meadow Foxtail
  • Arbutus
  • Grande Fir

How are Garry Oak Meadows getting destroyed?
These meadows are disappearing due to more development which means more tree destruction and fragmentation of these habitats. Another reason is that due to climate change, there are more extreme weather conditions (like droughts). Although Garry Oaks are drought-tolerant, other native species in these meadows rely on a consistent water supply.

Why are Garry Oak Meadows Important?
Garry Oak Meadows are home to many of Canada's most endangered flower species as well as the Garry Oaks. Not only do Garry Oak Meadows provide a home to plants, they also provide a great home for insects, birds and mammals. Uplands Park has a long trail system that the community uses for recreation and education. There are also archaeological sites with significance to the Indigenous Coast Salish peoples.

The vernal pool at risk in Uplands Park
What is a Vernal Pool? A vernal pool is a rare habitat found in Uplands Park where it is very dry in the summer and very wet in the winter. The vernal pool is home to many endangered annual flower species. These flower species have a unique reproductive cycle that can even be affected by minor droughts in late Spring. These annuals require a small window of wet weather at the end of Spring, without this, they can not reproduce and other species will take over this unique habitat.

If climate change continues, then what will 2050 look like?
By 2050, precipitation will increase by 5%, but it will be distributed heavily in the winter and there will be less in the summer. There will also be more extreme weather events, like droughts and wind storms. Droughts will affect the trees with shallow roots because they won’t be able to get the deep groundwater that the trees with big roots can. As mentioned, native annual flowering species will also be negatively affected by these changes.

Winners and losers in 2050
Potential winners in 2050
  • Garry Oak - Native Species
  • Trembling Aspen - Native Species
  • English Ivy - Invasive Species
  • Scotch Broom - Invasive Species
  • Norway Maple - Invasive Species
  • Holly - Invasive Species
Potential losers in 2050
  • Pacific Willow - Native Species
  • Carolina Meadow Foxtail - Native Species
  • Bearded Owl-clover - Native Species
  • Grande Fir - Native Species
  • Cascara - Native Species

How Can We Help
1In 1 playlists
Native species in Uplands Park will be most negatively affected by climates by 2050. We can help by doing our part to slow down climate change. Find ways to use fewer fossil fuels and reduce your ecological footprint.  Locally, you can help by learning about native species and removing invasive ones by volunteering with certified restoration groups, like Friends of Uplands Park: Special thanks to Wylie Thomas (Friends of Uplands Park) for sharing his knowledge and time with me on this project.