Oil Sands Reclamation With Woody Debris Using LFH Mineral Soil Mix And Peat Mineral Soil Mix Cover Soils: Impacts On Select Soil And Vegetation Properties


  • Author / Creator
    Forsch, Katryna B C
  • Prior to mining oil sands, soil is salvaged for reclamation and forest stands are harvested for their merchantable timber. Harvest operations leave large amounts of residual woody debris, which has been historically burned or mulched. Woody debris has significant ecological effects and can be used as an amendment to facilitate reclamation in the oil sands.
    Influences of woody debris and soil cover types on select soil and vegetation properties were examined in years four and five after reclamation on a Suncor Energy Inc. overburden dump. Treatments consisted of no woody debris, black spruce woody debris or trembling aspen woody debris on LFH mineral soil mix or peat mineral soil mix soil covers. Soil properties assessed were near surface temperature, volumetric water content, plant available nutrients, total inorganic and organic carbon, total nitrogen, carbon to nitrogen ratio, sodium adsorption ratio, electrical conductivity, pH, texture and bulk density. Vegetation properties assessed were canopy cover, ground cover, vascular and non vascular species composition, richness, diversity and woody plant density. Woody debris volume and cover was assessed to determine application rates to provide optimal effects on vegetation establishment and soil properties.
    Soil chemical and physical properties and volumetric water content were significantly affected by soil cover type. Woody debris and its size class contributed to regulating soil temperature. Woody debris continued to play a role in greater canopy cover for select vegetation properties; however, soil cover type had a more pronounced effect on various vegetation cover parameters, plant species richness, plant species composition and woody plant density. Woody debris volume application rates of 32.0 to 117.9 m3/ha did not have negative effects on plant community development. Results show a continual positive relationship between woody debris and cover with soil and vegetation development in year five post reclamation, demonstrating the promotion of ecological succession on this disturbed landscape.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • 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
  • Specialization
    • Land Reclamation and Remediation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Chanasyk, David (Renewable Resources)
    • Belland, Rene (Renewable Resources)
    • Chang, Scott (Renewable Resources)