Fonds UBCA-ARC-1445 - British Columbia Ecological Reserves fonds

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British Columbia Ecological Reserves fonds

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  • Photographic material

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2.61 m of textual records
ca. 190 aerial photographs: b & w; 25 x 25cm

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Administrative history

An Ecological Reserve is an area of Crown land with the most special conservation designation within the British Columbia Protected Areas system. The purpose for designating an ecological reserve is for scientific research, establishing benchmark areas to measure changes in ecosystems, protecting biological diversity, protecting rare and endangered organisms, and preserving unique, unusual or outstanding natural phenomena. In the 1960s and 70s, Canada participated in a decade of research known as the International Biological Program (IBP); this involved describing essential sites on standard international check-sheets. In some cases, check sheets are the only source of information for many ecological reserves. The British Columbia Ecological Reserves Act was passed in 1971; this meant that BC became the first province in Canada to give permanent protected status to ecological reserves. As a result, BC has the world's most comprehensive environmental reserves program. As of 2015, there are 148 ecological reserves in BC.
The University of British Columbia Professor Vladimir Joseph Krajina (1905-1993) advocated for the formation of ecological reserves throughout the 1950s amidst the increase in logging in the province. Krajina had a remarkable life, having emigrated after World War II from Czechoslovakia, where he had been an Intelligence Service leader. During the war, he was captured, served time with his wife in a concentration camp and narrowly missed execution. After the war, Krajina joined the UBC Botany Department, where he taught plant ecology for over twenty years and developed a reputation as a distinguished teacher, botanist, ecologist, and conservationist.
Krajina argued for ecological reserves, emphasizing during debates on the reserve concept, "They [the ecological reserves] serve as genetic banks of paramount importance which accomplish a museum function. Distinctive, large, heterogeneous, natural gene pools of different organisms and especially indigenous trees are an irreplaceable resource." In 1968, in BC, Krajina's work, the Ecological Reserves Committee, was formed to advise selecting potential reserve sites to preserve in British Columbia. On May 4, 1974, the first 29 reserves received protective status by Order-in-Council, a conservation landmark. In 1974, a full-time ecological reserve coordinator was hired, and a volunteer warden program was put into effect in 1980.

Custodial history

The records were donated to UBC Archives by Professor Iain Taylor from the Department of Botany. Before falling into Professor Taylor`s custody, the records had been stored at the UBC Botanical Gardens and the Department of Botany.

Scope and content

The fonds consist of reports from field surveyors submitted as applications to designate areas in British Columbia for protection. The fonds also contains supporting records relating to the wider Ecological Reserve program and include correspondence, progress reports, presentations, memorandums, lectures, briefs, surveys, "dead applications", news clippings, Orders of the Lieutenant in Council [photocopies], pamphlets, check sheets, aerial photographs, park proposals, handwritten notes, and meeting minutes. Also included is a small series of records relating to Vladimir Krajina, including; general correspondence, curriculum vitae, a list of publications, articles, newspaper clippings, notes, a legacy biography and obituary.
The archivist restored the original order where it was definitive. However, Ecological Reserve Applications 1-39 can be found scattered throughout the supporting records series. The original record keeper appears to have created a filing system beginning at the Ecological Reserve Application 40 (Petitot Rivers).

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Professor Krajina's secretary, Mrs. Svoboda, kept meticulous order managing the ecological reserve applications; this order was restored as much as possible during physical rearrangement. There were many photocopied duplicate copies of the ecological reserve application reports made by Mrs. Svoboda. Where possible only the original versions of the applications are retained.

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Two DVDs of Vladimir Krajina were acquired separately and are available in the archives vault VT 2636 "Forests and Vladimir Krajina" & VT 2637 "Aloha-oe explanations."

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Recordings of a series of lectures by Vladimir J. Krajina from September 1975 on the Biogeoclimatic Zones of British Columbia are available through UBC Library Open Collections.

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