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Impaired Wetlands in a Damaged Landscape: The Legacy of Bitumen Exploitation in Canada

  • Examines long-term ecological recovery of wetlands impacted by open pit bitumen mining and tailings production in northeastern Alberta
  • Describes the effects of bitumen exploitation on the floristic (species) composition and diversity of vascular plant communities, by examining differences between native and disturbed wetland habitats
  • Of interest to scientists, engineers, ecologists and environmentalists working on the successful reclamation of wetland function

Series: SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science

By: Kevin P Timoney(Author)

218 pages, 54 colour photos and illustrations, 4 b/w illustrations, 30 tables


Paperback | Aug 2015 | #217477 | ISBN-13: 9783319102344
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £44.99 $59/€50 approx

About this book

Impaired Wetlands in a Damaged Landscape is a scientific monograph that examines the flora and vegetation of natural mineral wetlands in comparison to mineral wetlands affected by bitumen exploitation. The work is of broad relevance because (a) wetland loss and degradation is a global problem; (b) the continued global increase in fossil fuel exploitation is resulting in widespread damage; and (c) bitumen (tar sands, oil sands) exploitation is a rapidly growing and destructive set of activities. The core of the work is a meta-analysis of 417 vegetation plots. Analyses of change over time and chemical and physical attributes of water and soil are presented for the subset of plots with sufficient data.

The purpose of the work is to demonstrate that: (1) There are marked differences between natural and industrially-affected wetlands. (2) Industrially-affected mineral wetlands differ from natural wetlands in their vegetation assemblages, their depressed vegetation and species diversity, and their abundance of exotic weeds. (3) Successful post-bitumen mining wetland reclamation has not been accomplished and may not be attainable within the foreseeable future given the ecological and physical conditions of the industrial wetlands, current reclamation practices, and lax regulatory standards. In regard to government policy and industrial practices, it finds that they are responsible for reclamation failure on a grand scale.


1. Introduction
2. Reclamation Policy and Scientific Context
3. Methods
4. The Vegetation
5. Chemical and Physical Properties of the Wetlands
6. Plant Species Richness and Diversity
7. Are Industrial Wetlands Changing Over Time
8. Differentiating Industrial from Natural Wetlands via Structural and Geographic Attributes
9. The Role of Regulations and Policy in Wetland Loss and Attempts at Reclamation
10. Impaired Wetlands: Further Considerations
11. The Future: Is Regional Environmental Degradation Inevitable?
12. Summary and Conclusions

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Kevin Timoney is a well-rounded ecologist with extensive field, research, and writing experience and a commitment to solving complex environmental and ecological problems. He has expertise in subarctic and boreal ecology, vegetation, landscape, botany, climate change, hydrology, wildlife, disturbance ecology, the effects of environmental contaminants on humans and ecosystems, and statistics. He has a background in remote sensing, geography, pollution ecology, GIS, ecosystem management, zoology, restoration, geology, landforms, soils, and permafrost. He has done numerous interviews for television, radio, and documentary films on the effects of industrial development in the Athabasca bitumen sands region. As the principal investigator at Treeline Ecological Research, he conducts ecological research on a wide range of topics. Recent examples include vegetation and landscape ecology, rare flora, human effects on natural systems, high conservation value forest assessments, climate change, habitat studies, long-term ecological research and monitoring, forest and wetland ecology, and ecosystem and vegetation management. His most recent publication is a book on the Peace-Athabasca Delta, published in October 2013 by the University of Alberta Press. The book synthesizes the ecological, climatic, hydrologic, and human history of the delta over the past ten thousand years. He has conducted research for federal and provincial governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, and First Nations. Clients have included BC Hydro, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries, the Alberta and federal governments, the Nunee Health Board Society (Fort Chipewyan), Keepers of the Athabasca, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Athabasca Tribal Council, Environmental Defence Canada, the Pembina Institute, Little Red River Cree First Nation, World Wildlife Fund, and many other organizations. He is also an avid canoeist, woodsman, naturalist, gardener, and backcountry traveler.

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