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Forests 2015, 6(6), 2109-2124; doi:10.3390/f6062109

Temporal Trends of Ecosystem Development on Different Site Types in Reclaimed Boreal Forests

1
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320 122 St, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada
2
LGL Limited environmental research associates, 9768 Second St, Sidney, BC V8L 3Y8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Phillip G. Comeau and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 6 March 2015 / Accepted: 8 June 2015 / Published: 12 June 2015
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Abstract

Forest development after land reclamation in the oil sands mining region of northern Alberta, Canada was assessed using long-term monitoring plots from both reclaimed and natural forests. The metrics of ecosystem development analyzed included measures of plant community structure and composition and soil nutrient availability. Early seral reclamation plots were grouped by site type (dry and moist-rich) and age categories, and these were compared with mature natural forests. There were few significant differences in ecosystem metrics between reclamation site types, but natural stands showed numerous significant differences between site types. Over time, there were significant changes in most plant community metrics such as species richness and cover of plant community groups (e.g., forbs, shrubs, and non-native species), but these were still substantially different from mature forests 20 years after reclamation. Available soil nitrogen did not change over time or by reclamation site type but available soil phosphorus did, suggesting that phosphorus may be a more suitable indicator of ecosystem development. The significant temporal changes in these reclaimed ecosystems indicate that studies of ecosystem establishment and development on reclaimed areas should be conducted over the long-term, emphasizing the utility of monitoring using long-term plot networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: land reclamation; oil sands; long-term monitoring; CEMA; Alberta; site type land reclamation; oil sands; long-term monitoring; CEMA; Alberta; site type
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pinno, B.D.; Hawkes, V.C. Temporal Trends of Ecosystem Development on Different Site Types in Reclaimed Boreal Forests. Forests 2015, 6, 2109-2124.

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