UBC Graduate Research

Soil and vegetation properties on reclaimed oil sands in Alberta, Canada: a synthetic review Wu, ShuYao

Abstract

The oil sands resource in Alberta represents vast economic opportunities but also dramatic environmental threat. Many researches have been conducted on the properties of reclaimed oil sands soils. This paper intends to provide a synthetic review of some conducted researches on the soil physical, chemical and biological properties and vegetation community development in Alberta. This paper chooses a total of 20 researches (from 2003 to 2014) that restricted their study sites in the oil sands extraction regions in Alberta. Five of the researches mainly focused on soil physical properties, five on chemical ones, six on biological ones and another four on vegetation community responses. This paper found that reclaimed soils generally have different properties in all physical, chemical and biological aspects compare to natural soils. Prominent physical and chemical differences exist in organic matter content, soil nitrogen content and nitrogen mineralization rate. These differences also lead to significantly different microbial community structures and organic matter accumulation rate. In addition, mitigating effects of time on soil properties and vegetation communities were observed in this review. In the end, this paper addresses the management implications and future research suggestions based on researches.

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Attribution 2.5 Canada

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