Interim Reforestation of Soil Stockpiles

Dr. Amanda Schoonmaker

Publication Date:

Industrial disturbances, whether in the mining or oil and gas sector, typically result in the clearing of forests and stockpiling of surface soils during the development and operational phases of industrial activity. In Alberta, operators are mandated to ensure stockpiles are stable and non-erosive, constructed in order to maximize soil surface area (shallower slopes being optimal) and that weeds or other invasive species are managed appropriately. Management of these stockpiles will be required until final reclamation activities when the facilities are removed, the site is re-contoured and stockpiled soils are spread. Historical (and present) practices include seeding with grasses and use of chemical herbicides to control establishment of noxious weeds. Temporary reforestation of soil stockpiles, is an alternative, though not widely utilized practice that may better fit the fundamental long-term final reclamation goals in forested settings (restoring a functional forest). Potential benefits of temporary reforestation of stockpiled soil include: long-term erosion control, reduced invasion of weedy vegetation through increased forest cover and shading and increased habitat availability for wildlife. In addition, temporary reforestation is also likely to enhance the root and seed propagule bank and provide coarse woody material final reclamation. This webinar will present an alternative approach to conventional soil stockpile management, the interim (or temporary) reforestation of soil stockpiles. In 2015, a case study was initiated on 8 hectares of an in-situ facility soil stockpile. An overview of the operational activities and findings during the first four growing seasons will be presented.

Resource Type:

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program