Download the full-sized PDF of Marsh reclamation in the oil sands of Alberta: providing benchmarks and models of vegetation developmentDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Marsh reclamation in the oil sands of Alberta: providing benchmarks and models of vegetation development Open Access


Other title
carex aquatilis
oil sands
basin morphometry
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Ciborowski, Jan
Examining committee member and department
Carla Wytrikush
Doug Wilcox
David Locky
Anne Naeth
Suzanne Bayley
Department of Renewable Resources
Conservation Biology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A key objective of the Alberta oil sands industry is to reclaim the post-mined landscape to “equivalent land capability” (Harris 2007). Vitt and Bhatti (2012) proposed a restoration framework for boreal disturbances. They suggested that to increase chances of achieving ecosystem equivalency and sustainability, created sites must have 1) species composition similar to natural reference sites, 2) species performance based on natural benchmarks, and 3) ecological processes similar to reference sites. To provide reclamation benchmarks to which created marshes of the Fort McMurray region can be compared and reclamation practices adjusted, my work follows the rationale developed by Vitt and Bhatti (2012). In Chapter One, I provided an introduction to the major paradigms of community ecology. In Chapter Two, I identified, described and compared environmental and plant assemblage patterns present in different types of created and natural marshes. In Chapter Three, I examined the degree to which the addition of peat-mineral mix (PM) to different types of oil sands process materials (OSPM) affects C. aquatilis performance. I also tested the effects of oil sands process water (OSPW) on C. aquatilis performance. In Chapter Four, I defined and compared natural and created marsh zone area variation over time and identified abiotic factors that influence the patterns observed. My results revealed that created and natural marshes were characterised by distinct environmental conditions and that the vegetation composition of some created sites was dissimilar to natural reference sites. The addition of PM to OSPM significantly increases C. aquatilis survival, below and aboveground biomass. The use of OSPW significantly reduced C. aquatilis belowground biomass and affected its physiological performance. Amending created marshes with PM may enhance plant performance but its effect at the community level remains to be tested. Unlike natural marshes the total areas of created marshes were dominated by stable submersed aquatic vegetation zone (SAVZ) in all years. Mean maximum temperature and annual total snow were identified as the simplest ways to predict SAVZ area within natural marshes for a given year. The ratio of marsh area to volume described SAVZ area variation and provided prescriptive guidance for construction of reclaimed marshes.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Roy, M.C., P.O. Mollard, and L.A. Foote. 2014. Do peat amendments to oil sands wet sediments affect Carex aquatilis biomass for reclamation success? Environmental Management. 139: 154-163.

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 3833340
Last modified: 2015:10:12 14:26:07-06:00
Filename: Roy_Marie-Claude_201409_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: 49938fc2acfc168e954e3daf27f1a94a
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date