Bringing Forests Back After Oil and Gas Disturbances: An Experiment Testing Emerging Techniques to Grow Trees on Seismic Lines.

S. Nason
Jaime Pinzon
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This publication discusses the restoration of treed peatlands after disturbances caused by oil and gas activities, particularly in areas where seismic lines have been created. Seismic lines are corridors cut through the forest for oil and gas exploration. When cut through wetlands such as peatlands, the ground of seismic lines often sinks below the water table and becomes very wet, making it difficult for trees and other plants to grow back. Wet seismic lines also harm peatland ecosystems by affecting the flow of ground water, fragmenting habitats, and affecting the many species that live in these habitats. Also, seismic lines allow deer and moose, and their predators (mostly wolves) to access peatlands, leading to a decline in caribou populations. To restore these areas and their biodiversity while reducing wolf access, restoration techniques like soil mounding are commonly used. Mounds are constructed with an excavator and are elevated spots where trees can grow without being waterlogged. The study aims to determine the most effective mound size and planting location for tree growth. The researchers planted black spruce and larch seedlings and are monitoring over time seedling survival, seedling growth, biodiversity, soil conditions, and nutrient levels. Results will help oil and gas companies and restoration practitioners make informed decisions about investing in mound establishment to restore trees, plants, and biodiversity on seismic lines. This plain language summary was generated by artificial intelligence and revised by the CFS.