Floating Ideas Lecture - Ecosystems on the Edge – Restoring Coastal Sand Ecosystem on Sidney Island 

Sidney Spit, in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, protects a significant example of rare coastal sand ecosystem, a dynamic environment where marine and terrestrial influences meet. Coastal sand ecosystems support rare plants and animals that depend on open sand habitat to survive, including the contorted-pod evening-primrose, silky beach pea and common nighthawk.  In recent times, introduced invasive plants, such as Scotch broom and European beach grass, have crowded out the native species and stabilized the shifting sands, threatening this rare ecosystem and its species at risk. In 2016, Parks Canada initiated a project to restore a key portion of coastal sand ecosystem on Sidney Spit, through removing invasive plants with the help of dedicated volunteers, augmenting rare plant populations, and enhancing visitor facilities and learning opportunities. Learn more about Parks Canada’s steps to save this ecosystem and the extraordinary response of the rare plants at the site! 

Pippi Lawn has worked for Parks Canada as a resource management specialist since 2006. Prior to this, she worked in mangrove forests and marine areas in Australia, using marine and intertidal plants to assess changes in ecosystem health. Since joining Parks Canada, she has led a variety of monitoring and restoration projects in national parks on both coasts, including Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick, the Species at Risk section of Coastal BC and, most recently, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, with a special focus on vegetation, invasive species, species at risk, and plants as indicators of ecosystem health.


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