Oil Sands Vegetation Cooperative (OSVC): A Collaborative Initiative for Sustainable Plant Community Establishment

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Ann Smreciu

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The OSVC is an Alberta oil sands industry enterprise under the auspices of the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). It addresses the numerous revegetation challenges faced by industry in attaining the goal of reestablishing diverse functioning native plant communities on altered sites. Prior to the OSVC, plant material availability and knowledge were limited and pursued in an ad hoc manner by individual oil sands operators. Through cooperation among members, the OSVC aims to increase capacity of plant materials and expand and share knowledge required to optimize the use of these valuable resources. Since 2009, the OSVC has commissioned expansive annual seed harvests and, to date, has harvested over 231 million seeds representing 50 individual species. Development of seed orchards and stooling beds are planned to reduce reliance on wild harvests and increase sustainability of natural refugia. Seeds are registered by, banked and deployed according to strict Government of Alberta standards that ensure genetic fitness and adaptability. Members guide the direction of pertinent, cutting edge research in the areas of seed science, seed storage and longevity, propagation and establishment of boreal native species. Information is openly shared to further reach reclamation objectives. In cooperation with harvesters, Indigenous groups, ecologists, seed scientists and nursery professionals, the OSVC has improved the supply chain from harvest to plant production. Establishment of plants on reclaimed sites is being enhanced by building on joint successes.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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