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Soil Moisture and Nutrient Regimes of Reclaimed Upland Slopes in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta

Leatherdale, Jess Dion. 2008. University of Alberta, M.Sc.

Abstract

Research objectives were to quantify soil moisture and nutrient regimes on reclaimed upland slopes of various reclamation prescriptions and to determine how these parameters were affected by slope position.Slope position did not have a consistent effect on either soil moisture or nutrient status.Spatial variability in soil characteristics and vegetation distribution likely had a greater influence on moisture and nutrient distribution than did slope position. The upper soil profiles had highly dynamic moisture regimes and a greater response to precipitation events than the lower soil profiles. Available water increased with increasing moisture content and a site that had a greater fraction of coarse textured material within its upper peat mineral mix horizon experienced percolation.Soil nutrient availability was more affected by season than by reclamation prescription.An unvegetated site exhibited lower seasonal variability in soil moisture and nutrient regimes than those of the vegetated sites.