The effects of subsoil ripping on soil physical properties and soil water dynamics on reconstructed soils at Genesee Prairie Mine, Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Sabbagh, Pamela J
  • Surface mining activities have significantly depleted natural tree cover, especially trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), in the Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland Natural Regions of Alberta. The natural soil profile is usually destroyed during these mining activities and soil and landscape reconstruction is typically the first step in the reclamation process. However, the mine tailings and overburden materials used for these new soils often become compacted during the reconstruction process because they are subjected to high amounts of traffic with heavy equipment. Compacted soils generally have low porosity and low penetrability through increased soil strength, making it difficult for roots to elongate and explore the soil. Compaction also reduces infiltration capacity and drainage, which can cause excessive runoff and soil erosion. To improve the pore size distribution and water transmission, subsoil ripping was carried out in a test plot at Genesee Prairie Mine, Alberta. Within the site, six replicates with two treatments each, unripped (compacted) and ripped (decompacted), were established with 20-m buffers between them. The main objective of this research was to characterize the effects of subsoil ripping on soil physical properties as well as soil water dynamics during spring snowmelt. Results showed improved bulk density, pore size distribution and water infiltration in the soil as a result of the deep ripping. The ripping treatment likely improved the soil physical properties with respect to aspen revegetation.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 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
    • Soil Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Hernandez Ramirez, Guillermo (Renewable Resources)
    • Quideau, Sylvie (Renewable Resources)