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Effects of Buried Wood on the Development of Populus tremuloides on Various Oil Sands Reclamation Soils.

K. E. Trepanier, L. Manchola-Rojas, and Pinno, B. D.. 2022.

Abstract

Buried wood is an important but understudied component of reclamation soils.We exam- ined the impacts of buried wood amounts and species on the growth of the common reclamation tree species trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). In a greenhouse study, aspen seedlings were planted into four soil types, upland derived fine forest floor-mineral mix (fFFMM), coarse forest floor-mineral mix (cFFMM), and lowland derived peat and peat-mineral mix (PMM), that were mixed with either aspen or pine wood shavings at four concentrations (0%, 10%, 20% and 50% of total volume). Height and diameter growth, chlorophyll concentration, and leaf and stem biomass were measured. Soil nutrients and chemical properties were obtained from a parallel study. Buried wood primarily represents an input of carbon to the soil, increasing the C:N ratio, reducing the soil available nitrogen and potentially reducing plant growth. Soil type had the largest impact on aspen growth with fFFMM = peat > PMM > cFFMM. Buried wood type, i.e., aspen or pine, did not have an impact on aspen development, but the amount of buried wood did. In particular, there was an interaction between wood amount and soil type with a large reduction in aspen growth with wood additions of 10% and above on the more productive soils, but no reduction on the less productive soils.

Key Words

buried wood; land reclamation; reclamation soils; trembling aspen; tree growth