Vegetation community composition in wetlands created following oil sand mining in Alberta, Canada

  • Published source details Roy M., Foote L. & Ciborowski J.J.H. (2016) Vegetation community composition in wetlands created following oil sand mining in Alberta, Canada. Journal of Environmental Management, 172, 18-28.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create freshwater marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Restore/create freshwater marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2008–2012 of marsh vegetation in 51 freshwater wetlands in Alberta, Canada (Roy et al. 2016) reported mixed effectiveness of wetland creation on the overall plant community composition and species richness, depending on whether mining waste was incorporated into the wetlands and on the vegetation zone. For wetlands created without incorporating mining waste, the emergent zone supported a statistically similar plant community to natural wetlands (80% similarity), but had lower species richness (created: 5.9; natural: 8.6 species/6 m2). In contrast, the wet meadow zone supported a significantly different plant community to natural wetlands (70% similarity), but had statistically similar species richness (created: 9.7; natural: 9.9 species/6 m2). For wetlands where mining waste was used during creation, the plant community composition in both zones was significantly different from natural wetlands (50% similarity). Species richness in the emergent zone (3.9 species/6 m2) was lower than in the natural wetlands. Species richness in the wet meadow zone (9.7 species/6 m2) was statistically similar to the natural wetlands. The study identified physical environmental differences between wetlands that may have influenced the vegetation. Methods: In August 2008–2012, vegetation was surveyed in 51 wetlands near Fort McMurray: 19 created on natural sediment and with fresh surface water; 16 created with mining waste (built on waste sediments, or filled with waste water); 16 natural. All created wetlands were ≥7 years old (18 were >15 years old). The study does not report details of wetland creation methods. Vegetation (emergent, floating and submerged) was surveyed in six 1-m2 quadrats/vegetation zone/wetland.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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