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Abstract Detail

Ecological impacts and restoration of industrial sites: roles of bryophytes and graminoid vascular plants

Borkenhagen, Andrea [1], Cooper, David [2], Kaczynski, Kristen [2].

Vegetation establishment on a reclaimed fen in Alberta’s oil sands region.

North America’s largest oil reserve is in Alberta’s oil sands region and mining extraction operations remove large areas of upland forest and peatlands. Reclaiming peatlands is challenging as they require a precise hydrologic regime and take long time periods to develop. Restoration has been conducted on degraded fens and bogs but innovative approaches are required in a post-mining landscape. As part of a multi-stakeholder collaboration, one of the first landscape scale fen and associated upland watershed, the Nikanotee Fen, was constructed and vegetated in 2013. The research program goal is to evaluate how the constructed site compares to natural regional fens and to develop methods for future reclamation projects. To determine the most effective treatments for establishing peat-forming vegetation, we tested five planting treatments: control, seeded, seedlings, moss layer transfer, and moss layer transfer + seedlings. Regionally collected saline and rich-fen dominant plant species were introduced as seed and nursery grown seedlings. The moss layer was harvested from a rich-fen, and spread at a 1:10 ratio. Plots were further split to test WoodStraw mulch and weeding treatments. Variation is prominent and hydrologic and geochemical gradients are influencing species cover and distribution. Moss established increased significantly under mulch and seedlings treatments as well as in plots with lower salinity and little to no flooding. Seedling above and belowground biomass and tiller density was greater with the moss layer transfer and differed by species but not consistently with original planting density. Exotic plant invasions were most common in plots with long-term flooding but were reduced by weeding and seedling planting treatments. Vegetation communities in some treatment plots show similarities in species composition to the donor site and reference saline fen. These results show that it is possible to reconstruct peat-accumulating systems; however, challenges exist in hydrologic regulation, salt accumulation, and species selection.

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1 - Colorado State University , Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship , Natural Resources Building, Room 224, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523, USA
2 - Colorado State University , Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship , Natural Resources Building, Room 224, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, United States

Wood-strand Mulch.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY07
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: SY07003
Abstract ID:607
Candidate for Awards:None

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