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

  • Author / Creator
    Raab, Dustin Jeremy
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Bayley, Suzanne (Department of Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Paszkowski, Cynthia (Department of Biological Sciences)
    • Foote, A. Lee (Department of Renewable Resources)