Restoring forests and reclaiming lands at NAIT's Boreal Research Institute
NAIT Boreal Research Institute
The Boreal Research Institute develops scientifically based best practices and applied technologies to address present and emerging knowledge gaps in the management and reclamation of disturbed landscapes. Our mission is to promote the informed use of boreal resources through applied science, education, and partnerships with industry, government agencies, practitioners and academic partners.
What is Applied Research?
Find out what applied research is at NAIT and how it is helping Alberta’s industry to solve real world problems and be more competitive in the global market.
NAIT president and CEO, Dr. Glenn Feltham explains the three key characteristics of applied research:
1) It is industry driven
2) It is done at the speed of industry
3) Intellectual property remains with industry
Emerald Award Finalist
EMERALD AWARD FINALIST – Shared Footprints Category
Discover NAIT Researcher Dr. Bin Xu's Passion for Boreal Peatland Restoration
Dr. Bin Xu cares about the land. He always has. As NAIT's Research Chair in Peatland Restoration that passion is his day job. His research helps to protect and restore northern ecosystems. It’s an industry-focused solution that contributes to a sustainable future for Alberta and beyond.
Alumni Profile: Forest Technology
Braden Shaw has left his heart in the forest. The NAIT Forest Technology grad has embraced a rewarding career in reclamation - returning former industrial sites to a natural state. Hear about the diverse career opportunities available to alumni. Braden also describes what you can expect in the Forest Technology program including the intense field studies and winter survival camps.
Trevor Floreani - Spatial Analysis and Visualization of Soil Resistance Before and After
Trevor Floreani is a Reclamation Field Technician with the NAIT Boreal Research Institute. In this presentation he discusses issues related to soil compaction and ways to measure soil resistance related to reclamation.
This presentation was part of the Alberta Soil Science Workshop in February 2016.
The NAIT Boreal Research Institute is located in the Peace River oilsands region of northwestern Alberta. One of the key research initiatives at the institute is peatland restoration. This trial wellsite reclamation research has two main goals: reintegrating water flow with the surrounding peatland, and restoring native plant communities.
Selecting appropriate pioneer species facilitates peatland re-vegetation processes in reclamation. Prior to re-vegetation, a donor site is identified where the top 10 cm of Sphagnum moss is harvested. Propagules are spread in thin layers covering the whole surface of the reclaimed site, at a minimum 1:10 ratio. Mulch is used to cover the Sphagnum layer to reduce evaporative losses, and native shrub species can be artificially introduced. Following the steps outlined in this video will assist in successful peatland vegetation establishment.
Peatland Well Pad Reclamation Methods
There are three main methods used by the Boreal Research Institute to address hydrological disturbances and re-integrate water flow between reclaimed well pads and the surrounding landscape. Method 1: Complete pad removal and peat fluffing. Method 2: Complete pad removal and peat inversion. Method 3: Partial pad removal and peat inversion.
The Importance of Tilling Compacted Forest Soils
Dr. David McNabb demonstrates how soil profile depth and structure determines the resiliency of soils in maintaining a sustainable forest ecosystem and moderating moisture between soil horizons. The trafficking of forest soils by most industrial equipment generally causes a complex combination of increased soil density and an alternation of the soil profile structure, reducing moisture availability for plants. Tilling helps to ensure successful forest vegetation by regenerating the natural soil structure.
How to Use a RipPlow in Forest Reclamation
The Boreal Research Institute tested the effectiveness of different RipPlow® implements in forest soil reclamation. This video provides recommendations on how to properly use the RipPlow® to restore soil structure and hydrological functions of compacted forest soils.
Using a RipPlow for Soil Decompaction in Forest Reclamation
Dr. David McNabb describes how the Boreal Research Institute is using the RipPlow® to test the restoration of soil quality on decommissioned well sites and the capability of the sites to support sustainable vegetation covers that is comparable to adjacent (off lease) control sites. A wide range of teeth, shank spacing, and tooth modifications are used by companies to till disturbed soil. The RipPlow® was developed to plow through topsoil without inverting the soil profile and create the large voids necessary to allow the freeze/thaw to restructure the entire tillage zone.