Unique Ecologies of British Columbia


It is widely understood that humans have varying degrees of influence on a wide range of ecological patterns and processes. In British Columbia an array of landscape management practices have been documented among Indigenous communities resulting in novel ecosystems. Yet, little is known about the range and extent of these eco-human dynamics in pre-settler colonial contexts. We explore the concept of "unique ecologies" as a way of better understanding the untold past of ecological and cultural factors that result in the landscapes we see today. We define unique ecologies as anthropogenically managed landscapes that support the succession and maintenance of culturally important plants including, crab-apple (Malus fusca), black hawthorn (Crataegous douglasii), hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), and dominant sub-canopies surrounded by important berries, roots and fibers. The association of unique ecologies with significant archaeological habitation sites, such as houses and large processing features, help us document how Indigenous people created equable climates, fertile forests, and reliable supplies of foods and medicines. The ongoing documentation of unique ecologies in BC expands our understanding of subtle historical social-ecological relationships, while also forming and reifying oral histories and traditions, and offering lessons on how to live well on the land.

Cite this Record

Unique Ecologies of British Columbia. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, Dana Lepofsky, Leslie Main Johnson, Nancy Turner. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430266)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16260