Revegetation research: A progress report on work accomplished in 1975

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  • This report outlines the progress made in 1975 in the Revegetation Research Program which is co-ordinated through the Botany Section of the Plant Industry Laboratory. This program is a joint research project co-sponsored by Alberta Agriculture, Alberta Environment, Alberta Highways and the Oil Sands Environmental Research Program. The program was initiated in 1973. That year a detailed provincial survey was done in regard to revegetative growth on newly disturbed areas. The major conclusion from the work of that year related to revegetation possibilities in unfavourable environments. The study showed that revegetation of moist, well drained areas appeared to be no real problem and could be accomplished using agronomic varieties now on the market. However, it became apparent that areas which are not so favourably endowed by nature would prove more difficult to revegetate. For these areas native species and naturalized landraces seemed to offer greater possibilities of success. This assumption was the initiating factor for the work done in 1974. In 1974 sites were selected throughout the province in order to test the growth possibilities of native species and naturalized landraces. These sites were selected in different areas of the province in an effort to obtain data on as many different micro-environments as possible. By the fall of 1974 34 test sites had been obtained and on 27 of these at least some planting had taken place. The detailed results of this work done in 1973 and 1974 are available in previous years reports. The work done in the summer of 1975 is a direct continuation of that of 1974. More small sites (see included map) were obtained and these also were planted with rows of test plants. We believe that by now there are sufficient sites throughout the province so that reasonable conclusions can be drawn for most areas in a few years time. The only areas in which additional sites are needed are the foothill and mountain areas, and very specialized sites such as Forestburg and Round Hills. Hopefully sites will be obtained in these areas and they will be planted in the future along with additional planting of native legumes and shrubs at current sites. In addition to the small sites larger areas have also been obtained to study the possibilities of seed increase of native ecotypes. These sites have also been outlined in this report. Included in this report is a short evaluation resume of the growth occurring at each site. In most cases the sites were evaluated twice during the course of the year. Very little growth was expected from those sites which were planted this year and this proved to be the case. Those sites which had substantial growth were evaluated for height and vigour. The height evaluation was done using standard techniques while the vigour rating was a subjective rating from 0 - 5, with 0 representing no growth at all above ground and 5 designating an excellent row. In the interest of brevity these results have not been detailed in full but the highlights for each site have been summarized. It must be emphasized that these are only first year results and conclusions must not be taken as applying with validity for long term extrapolation. Also each site must be taken as a separate entity and comparisons between sites are risky at best. The first tentative conclusions on these early test sites will be specified in two years time. In the summer of 1975 we were able, for the first time, to collect a reasonable amount of seed from native legumes and shrubs. This has been used to carry out the winter research in the laboratory and will also be used for limited field work in the spring. We expect that more seed from native legumes and shrubs will be needed to properly evaluate the ecotypic variability of various species and thus this seed will be collected in future years. Also, in 1975 the Plant Industry Division, Soil and Feed Testing Laboratory, analyzed the soil samples taken from each of the actual test sites. Consequently we are now able to relate the ecotypes involved to the overall environment and also to soil properties. This report also outlines the laboratory research which is underway at present. This research is being carried out in growth chambers and greenhouses supplied by Alberta Agriculture for this program. This laboratory work is reported in five sections: III Soil Analysis IV Seed Technology study V Testing of grasses on various soil types VI Testing of legumes on various soil types VII A study of the micro-organisms associated with seeds and seedlings. A report of the Preliminary vegetation survey of the Alberta Oil Sands Area - Bryophytes and Lichens conducted by Dr. P. W. Stringer is also included in this report. This survey was financed by money allocated for the AOSERP Empirical Revegetation Study.

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