Forest Reclamation

Canada’s boreal forest is of global economic significance, containing timber resources, conventional oil and gas (O&G), and in situ and surface minable oilsands. The boreal forest is increasingly fragmented due to the cumulative effects of O&G, forestry, utility and pipelines, and resource roads.

Why is this important? 

Reclamation and reforestation of industrial disturbances in Alberta’s boreal forest is vital to the forest’s long-term health. Reforestation also ensures that future generations will be in a position to utilize this resource for a variety of purposes (timber, recreation or simply for its ecological value) in the decades to come.

The forest reclamation research program is jointly funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), NAIT, industry, government, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) partners, and led by Dr. Amanda Schoonmaker, NSERC Industrial Research Chair.

Forest reclamation

Our Mission

Provide cost-effective methods, technologies, and best practices to support reforestation activities throughout the province of Alberta.

Research Topics

  • Site preparation options to improve soil structure and hydrologic function on reclaimed soils, including physical soil adjustment as well as incorporation of organic amendments
  • Optimizing nursery seedling stock quality of native boreal species
  • Integrating vegetation management approaches to enhance desirable forest species establishment including:
    (i) Cover crop use of both native grasses and forbs and identifying appropriate deployment mechanisms
    (ii) Surface site preparation tools
  • Interim reclamation approaches to better manage stockpiled soils and enhance final reclamation and reforestation outcomes.


  • Dr. Amanda Schoonmaker, Program Lead
  • Dr. Chibuike Chigbo, Research Associate
  • Dr. Mark Baah-Acheamfour, Research Associate


  • Ann Smreciu, Principle, Wildrose Consulting Inc.
  • Dr. Bonnie Drozdowski, Research Scientist, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures
  • Dr. Brad Pinno, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Dani Degenhardt, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre
  • Dr. Derek MacKenzie, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Erin Fraser, Senior Reforestation Specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Parks
  • Dr. Simon Landhäusser, Professor, University of Alberta

Looking for more information about how the Centre for Boreal Research  conducts forest reclamation research?

Contact us