Demonstrating the return of locally common upland plant communities following oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada

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Craig Farnden PhD

Publication Date:

Following oil sands mining in northern Alberta, there is an expectation that disturbed lands will be reclaimed to forested ecosystems having similar capability to provide goods and services to society as did the pre-mining footprint. One of several indicators for achievement of that goal is the degree to which reclaimed plant communities are converging with those of climatically and edaphically adapted communities locally common in the surrounding non-mined landscape. Syncrude Canada Ltd. has a long history of monitoring upland plant community development on reclaimed lands using a large set of re-measured sample plots. This talk will summarize almost 40 years of data from that program by (i) discussing variations in rates and patterns of observed changes to reclaimed plant community composition, (ii) quantifying the degree to which reclaimed plant communities are converging with those of undisturbed forests, and (iii) postulating on causal factors for observed variations in plant community trends, including the important influence of the forest canopy, that are relevant to continuous improvement of reclamation best practices.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program