Authors: Victor G. Kafka; Michel ThériaultThe Parks Canada Agency mandate requires that wildland fire management be viewed from the perspective of ensuring public and staff safety, reducing wildfire risk, restoring ecological integrity, and providing visitor and educational opportunities. La Mauricie National Park has been among the first national parks in Canada to develop an active fire restoration program. Its program goes back to the early 1990s with a focus on restoring Eastern White Pine ecosystems. It has been estimated that white pines are 7 times less abundant now in and around the park as compared to the early 19th century. Their decline is a result of overharvesting, settlement and, in more recent decades, lack of fire. Without management, the decline of white pines would have continued as regeneration to a sapling stage was virtually inexistent. Over the last 25 years, Parks Canada staff developed significant expertise in the restoration of these ecosystems through the use of fire. Prescribed fires are now conducted almost yearly with good success in producing white pine saplings. The prescribed area burned has reached 2145 hectares. This presentation will describe the evolution of the program, its components, results and lessons learned, including a look into the next 20 years.
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