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(2004 - 2016)
(2004 - 2016)
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Article 0 Reads 1 Citation State of knowledge about energy development impacts on North American rangelands: An integrative approach Published: 01 September 2016
Journal of Environmental Management, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.05.007
Highlights•Policies aimed at energy independence will affect ecosystem services on rangelands.•Assessing these impacts requires an integrative and systematic approach.•A road map for such an assessment of energy development on rangelands is presented.•Current knowledge is assessed and indicators to fill knowledge gaps about energy development impacts are identified. AbstractTo reduce dependence on foreign oil reserves, there has been a push in North America to develop alternative domestic energy resources. Relatively undeveloped renewable energy resources include biofuels and wind and solar energy, many of which occur predominantly on rangelands. Rangelands are also key areas for natural gas development from shales and tight sand formations. Accordingly, policies aimed at greater energy independence are likely to affect the delivery of crucial ecosystem services provided by rangelands. Assessing and dealing with the biophysical and socio-economic effects of energy development on rangeland ecosystems require an integrative and systematic approach that is predicated on a broad understanding of diverse issues related to energy development. In this article, we present a road map for developing an integrative assessment of energy development on rangelands in North America. We summarize current knowledge of socio-economic and biophysical aspects of rangeland based energy development, and we identify knowledge gaps and monitoring indicators to fill these knowledge gaps.
Article 0 Reads 1 Citation Nitrogen transformation rates are affected by cover soil type but not coarse woody debris application in reclaimed oil s... Published: 22 February 2016
Restoration Ecology, doi: 10.1111/rec.12344
Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM) and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) are cover soils commonly used for reclamation of open-pit oil sands mining disturbed land in northern Alberta, Canada; coarse woody debris (CWD) is another source of organic matter for land reclamation. We investigated net nitrogen (N) transformation rates in FMM and PMM cover soils near and away from CWD 4–6 years after oil sands reclamation. Monthly net nitrification and N mineralization rates varied over time; however, mean rates across the incubation periods and microbial biomass were greater (p < 0.05) in FMM than in PMM. Net N mineralization rates were positively related to soil temperature (p < 0.001) and microbial biomass carbon (p = 0.045). Net N transformation rates and inorganic N concentrations were not affected by CWD; however, the greater 15N isotope ratio of ammonium near CWD than away from CWD indicates that CWD application increased both gross N mineralization/nitrification (causing N isotope fractionation) and gross N immobilization (no isotopic fractionation). Microbial biomass was greater near CWD than away from CWD, indicating the greater potential for N immobilization near CWD. We conclude that (1) CWD application affected soil microbial properties and would create spatial variability and diverse microsites and (2) cover soil type and CWD application had differential effects on net N transformation rates. Applying FMM with CWD for oil sands reclamation is recommended to increase N availability and microsites.
CONFERENCE-ARTICLE 1 Read 0 Citations Urban Naturalization, A Recently Adopted Approach Towards Sustainable Cities Published: 08 June 2015
8th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), doi: 10.3390/ifou-D001
Naturalization is a relatively new management strategy for green areas within the urban environment. The approach undertaken in this research was to stop mowing and then plant with native species. The information available for decision makers regarding naturalization is very limited. The urban planner based on previous experiences is recommended to establish native species to the region. Native species have specific adaptations that allow them to withstand and survive in their endemic habitat. By limiting human intervention and reintroducing native species an area is eventually naturalized, meaning no further management of the area is needed to become an assemblage of the naturally occurring landscape. The current study assesses how successfully these native plant species establish in an urban setting using naturalization as a management approach. A comparison between soil tillage and no tillage combined with compost and topsoil amendments being tested to identify the most suitable species for urban naturalization and the best management practices to enhance this practice. Naturalization is a strategy that presents a great opportunity for urban centers to integrate native species into the landscape. If done properly, a successful naturalization strategy can significantly improve city management costs, promote preservation of local species, restore environmental services and encourage more members of these communities to embrace naturalization as a desirable strategy to follow.
Article 0 Reads 0 Citations Establishment of Restoration Trajectories for Upland Tundra Communities on Diamond Mine Wastes in the Canadian Arctic Published: 22 May 2014
Restoration Ecology, doi: 10.1111/rec.12106
Mining in the arctic amplifies restoration challenges due to inherent environmental conditions by removing soil, vegetation, and the propagule bank, adding coarse textured wastes with low water holding capacity and nutrients, and introducing salt and metal contamination. Short‐term reclamation focuses on rebuilding soil and providing rapid native plant cover for erosion control, supporting longer term reestablishment of ecological processes for sustainable tundra communities that provide essential wildlife habitat. This study evaluated methods to restore soil and plant communities 5 years after implementation of treatments at a diamond mine in the Canadian arctic. Five substrates including mine waste materials (processed kimberlite, glacial till, gravel, and mixes), four amendments (inorganic fertilizer, salvaged soil, sewage sludge, and water treatment sludge), five native species seed mixes and natural recovery were investigated. Soil and plant response were assessed annually. Soil chemistry was ameliorated with time. Chromium, cobalt, and nickel concentrations in processed kimberlite remained high and potentially toxic to plants. Adding fine textured materials such as glacial till to mine wastes improved nutrient and water retention, which in turn enhanced revegetation. Sewage and inorganic fertilizer increased available nitrogen and phosphorus, plant density and cover. Soil amendment increased species richness. Seeding was essential to establish a vegetation cover. After 5 years, seed mix composition and diversity had no effect on plant community development; soil and plant community properties among treatments changed considerably, providing evidence that restoration in the arctic is dynamic yet slow and success cannot be determined in the short term.
Article 0 Reads 10 Citations Woody Debris Amendment Enhances Reclamation after Oil Sands Mining in Alberta, Canada Published: 30 May 2013
Restoration Ecology, doi: 10.1111/rec.12029
Mining disturbs large forested areas around the world, including boreal forests after oil sands mining in Canada. Industrial companies are expected to reclaim degraded land to ecosystems with equivalent land capability. This research showed the value of woody debris for reclamation of dramatically disturbed landscapes with a forest ecosystem end land use. Adding woody debris during reclamation can facilitate recovery of flora, soil nutrient cycling and water and nutrient holding capacity. Combined with forest floor material, woody debris can provide native plant propagules that would be otherwise commercially unavailable. Sites with and without woody debris on forest floor material containing identifiable litter (L), fragmented and fermented litter (F), and humus (H) (LFH), and peat mineral soil mix (peat) cover soils were studied. Within 2 years, woody debris decreased bare ground and created microsites which were positively associated with greater vegetation cover and woody plant density. Woody debris treatments had lower soil available nitrate and soil under woody debris had a lower temperature range and higher soil volumetric water content than control treatments without woody debris. Woody debris did not affect first year microbial biomass carbon or mycorrhizae, but both were greater on LFH than peat cover soil. LFH was associated with lower bare ground and greater vegetation cover, species richness, and soil phosphorus and potassium than peat cover soil, which had greater soil sulfate.
Article 0 Reads 0 Citations Assessment of a reclamation cover system for phosphogypsum stacks in Central Alberta, Canada. Published: 03 February 2011
Journal of Environment Quality,
Phosphogypsum (PG), a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer industry, was produced and stockpiled at the Agrium Fort Saskatchewan facility from 1965 to 1991. Upon decommissioning, the outer slopes of the PG stacks were reclaimed by applying 15 cm of topsoil and planting a non-native seed mix. Physical, chemical, and hydrologic evaluations of the cover system confirmed that plants were successfully growing in various soil capping depths and were often rooting more than 200 mm into the PG. Percolation past the substrate into PG during a typical storm event was low (< 10 mm), and runoff from the stacks was negligible. Runoff quality met most guidelines, but some parameters, including fluoride, were up to 18 times higher than provincial or federal guidelines for soil and water quality. However, the cover system, when applied appropriately, does meet basic reclamation objectives. The exceedances are found in areas where the cover system has been compromised by erosion or mixing or in areas where the cover system has not been fully applied, such as roads or the inner basin. In areas where the cover system has been applied successfully, basic reclamation requirements are met.