British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Native species in reclamation of disturbed lands Bell, Marcus A. M.; Meidinger, Dellis Vern, 1953-


When reclamation seeks to reintegrate disturbed lands into the natural landscape, use of native species could have decided ecological, economic and aesthetic advantages. As products of millions of years of adaption to varied environments, native species generally require no maintenance, are self perpetuating, and are visually integrated with surrounding landscapes. In the practical sense, native seed is presently unavailable commercially. Therefore, research is necessary on the collection of native seed and cuttings, the storage and treatment of seed for dormancy breaking and germination, the time of seeding and methods of propagation for maximum seedling establishment, the growth on different materials and sites, the selection of proper species combinations (including agronomics), and on the practical and cost aspects of commercial production. By observation in nature, and by lab experiments, native species should be evaluated for their role in succession, erosion control capability, contribution to soil humus, palatability for wildlife and visual integrating capabilities. Initially, research priority should be given to species suitable for difficult sites where agronomic species are relatively unsuccessful or costly to maintain (e.g. high elevations, steep slopes, dry areas). The immediate goal of this research would be the production of a catalogue of native species suitable for reclamation of disturbed lands in British Columbia. This catalogue would contain all available information on areas, sites, conditions, etc. for which species would be suitable as well as information on species germination, propagation, and early maintenance requirements. Establishment of an independent Reclamation Research Institute is proposed to fund and coordinate this research in connection with other aspects of reclamation in the province.

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