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Reclamation of wetland habitat in the Alberta oil sands: generating assessment targets using boreal marsh vegetation communities Open Access


Other title
Index of Biological Integrity
oil sands
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Raab, Dustin Jeremy
Supervisor and department
Bayley, Suzanne (Department of Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Foote, A. Lee (Department of Renewable Resources)
Paszkowski, Cynthia (Department of Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Thousands of hectares of wetlands are being destroyed by oil sands mining in Alberta, and the industry must undertake wetland reclamation to compensate for these losses. Wetland vegetation has developed at some previously mined sites, however reclamation is thus far exploratory, and limited in extent. To inform reclamation practices and assist compliance monitoring I examined vegetation communities in 25 natural boreal wetlands and 20 oil sands reclaimed wetlands, developed a Vegetation-based Index of Biological Integrity (vIBI) to quantify the ecological health of wetlands, and identified possible physical and chemical barriers to reclamation. The vIBI identified 6 reclaimed wetlands in fair to good health, however reclaimed wetlands have different vegetation communities, do not produce the same level of aboveground biomass, and have lower levels of sediment nutrients than natural wetlands. To reclaim healthy wetlands, planning should focus on establishing appropriate species, and alleviate nutrient and sediment deficiencies.
License granted by Dustin Raab ( on 2010-08-09T18:59:06Z (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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File title: Raab_Dustin_Fall 2010
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