Carex establishment on reclaimed oil sands landscapes : a case study at Suncor Energy Inc.
Marlowe, Patricia Ann
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SubjectAbandoned mined lands reclamation; Oil sands; Carex; Plant colonization; Plant diversity; Restoration ecology; Athabasca Tar Sands (Alta.); Alberta, Northern; Suncor Energy Inc.; Case studies (Research methodology)
Reclaimed oil sands landscapes are perceived to be low in plant diversity compared with naturally occurring plant communities. Approximately 66 Carex species inhabit the oil sand region. This thesis is unique and represents the first large scale study of Carex establishment on reclaimed oil sands landscapes. Research compared diversity and habitat variables between natural ecosystems and reclaimed landscapes, and examined the colonization mechanism for Carex establishment on reclaimed landscapes (i.e., ingress from adjacent natural ecosystems or emergence from the soil seed bank). Low positive associations between the presence of Carex in natural and reclaimed landscapes, and the presence of species on reclaimed landscapes not accounted for in either the forest or edge plots, suggests Carex established from the soil seed bank and less so from natural ingress. Carex share the same seed dispersal mechanisms as many plants, so the implications may apply to a broader range of plant species.
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