We are developing innovative approaches to restore, reclaim and rewild moss and peat dominated ecosystems to functional ecosystems following human and climate-mediated disturbance. We have established a method for the re-establishment of Sphagnum mosses on degraded peatlands and open rock barrens. Our innovative method consists of re-establishing the hydrological regime of the impacted wetland, harvesting plants in a peatland and spreading them as fragments or peat blocks in the impacted sites, and covering them over with mulch to protect them. With this human intervention, a widespread moss cover can be obtained within three to five years on abandoned mined sites depending on local conditions. The goal of our restoration and reclamation is to restore the net carbon sink function of managed peatlands and to re-establish habitat for species in Ontario rock barrens. Our reclamation research at the Utikuma Lake Research Study Area (URSA) provides our industrial partners with an understanding of the ecohydrology and hydrogeology of natural ecosystems in order to guide reclamation on Oil Sands leases. Over the last 15 years, research at URSA has provided the most comprehensive understanding of watershed hydrology in Alberta's Boreal Plains and is currently being implemented in several reclamation strategies.
Mike Waddington School of Earth, Environment & Society McMaster University 1280 Main Street West Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1 Canada
Phone: 905.525.9140 x23217 Lab: Burke Science Building 305 Office: General Science Building 234