Peatlands are abundant in the boreal region of Canada but little is known about their restoration on oil sands well pads. The goal of this study is to compare the reintroduction of different peatland plant communities and substrate amendments/decompaction in order to rehabilitate peatland vegetation on former in situ well pads constructed in wetlands. One field experiment tested which peatland plant communities (Shrubby Rich Fen, Treed Rich Fen) would best colonize different substrates (sawdust, clay loam, mix sawdust-clay, peat, surface roughness). We found that the moss layer transfer technique (MLTT) facilitated the establishment of peatland communities on residual mineral soil used to construct the pad, when shaved back to an average water level of the surrounding wetland. The choice of peatland plant community is key to the introduction of bryophytes. Peat amendment facilitated the establishment of plants, whereas soil decompaction had no effect. The MLTT is a promising approach to restore fen plants on well pads. We recommend a scale-up experiment for a whole well site to test the validity of MLTT along different pad removal techniques.
Wetlands Ecology and Management – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 7, 2017
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