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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Hoffman, Elizabeth [1], Landhäusser, Simon M. [1], Macdonald, Ellen [1].

Temporal and spatial development of vegetation community patterns on boreal forest surface mine sites reclaimed using salvaged forest floor material.

Severe disturbances such as surface mining typically result in the removal of all surface soil. Forest floor material (FFM), often salvaged from sites prior to mining, can provide a source of native propagules for forest restoration. Plant establishment after placing salvaged FFM has received some study; however, the factors that drive development of these new forest communities in the early and intermediate time-frame are poorly understood. Early on, weedy non-native species are common on reclamation sites, but research on the interactions between these species and more ‘desirable’ native forest understory species is lacking. We examined patterns of community development at different temporal stages on sites reclaimed using FFM. Material salvaged from a rich-mesic aspen-dominated forest was placed in 2004 at a large reclamation site, while in 2012 at another large site similar FFM was placed. At that same site, FFM salvaged from a poor-xeric pine-dominated forest was also placed. In 2014, five grids of contiguous quadrats were established at each of the three site types and vegetation and environmental factors were assessed at the quadrat level. Spatial patterns in the vegetation communities were explored using Principal Coordinates of Neighbour Matrices (PCNM) and variation partitioning. Spatial patterns at the older site were more complex than those at either young site. At the older site, native forest understory species were dominant and drove spatial patterns. In contrast, at both young sites patterns were driven by non-native ruderal species and several native shrubs, although different species drove patterns at the two site types. The lack of importance of ruderal species in the spatial patterns at the older site suggests that, although these species are initially drivers of spatial pattern in these plant communities, their importance decreases with time. This suggests that intensive management actions to reduce the abundance of these ruderal species at ‘young’ reclamation sites may not be necessary.

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1 - University of Alberta, Renewable Resources, 751 General Services Building, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H1, Canada

forest floor material
spatial pattern
boreal forest.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 68
Location: Salon 8/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Time: 2:30 PM
Number: 68005
Abstract ID:737
Candidate for Awards:None

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