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Natural Recovery of Upland Boreal Forest Vegetation on a Hummocky Peat-Mineral Mix Substrate in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta Open Access


Other title
oil sands
natural recovery
land reclamation
boreal forest
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Shaughnessy, Brenda Erin
Supervisor and department
Naeth, M. Anne (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Chanasyk, David S. (Renewable Resources)
Bork, Edward W. (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
MacDonald, S. Ellen (Renewable Resources)
Department of Renewable Resources

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
This research investigated the natural recovery of upland boreal forest vegetation on a peat-mineral mix substrate in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta. Three sites, aged 26 to 34 years, were assessed to determine effects of substrate (pH, electrical conductivity, texture), topography, slope, aspect, hummock size, litter depth, tall shrub and tree stem densities, canopy cover, and tree ages on community composition and cover of upland boreal vegetation. Environmental variables that had the most influence on the plant communities were substrate texture (clay), tree canopy cover, and tall shrub stem density. The plant communities, which likely developed from early successional lowland communities, most closely approximate an upland boreal mixedwood forest in transition from an early to mid successional stage. Community development was concluded to be a product of measured environmental variables, with unmeasured factors such as propagule dispersal, germination conditions, and initial species composition also playing important roles.
License granted by Brenda Shaughnessy ( on 2010-01-07T06:11:37Z (GMT): 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 the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein 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.
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