Land Reclamation, Remediation & Restoration

Land ReclamationWe are always interested in receiving applications from excellent students who wish to pursue programs leading to an M.Sc. or a Ph.D. in land reclamation and remediation. Application forms, scholarship information, and all additional information are available from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Interested applicants should contact the researcher whose interest closely match theirs.

Natural and modified landscapes can be severely disturbed by non-renewable resource (fossil fuels, minerals, aggregates) extraction and processing, and wastes or activities from renewable resource use (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, recreation) and industrial and municipal sources.  To ensure sustainable establishment and utilization of renewable resources (soil, flora, water, fauna) on these sites, land reclamation, remediation and restoration are implemented to address specific problems and goals.

What is Land Reclamation? The process of improving disturbed land (soil, vegetation, water) to achieve land capability equivalent to the predisturbed condition or for a specified end land use.

What is Soil Remediation? The process of removing, reducing or neutralizing industrial soil, sediment and water contaminants that threaten human health and/or ecosystem productivity and integrity.

What is Ecosystem Restoration? The process of manipulating an ecosystem (soil, vegetation, water and wildlife) to achieve composition, structure and function similar to the predisturbed condition. The wildlife component of ecosystem restoration is addressed by the Biodiversity Conservation research focus area.

The Department of Renewable Resources Land Reclamation, Remediation and Ecosystem Restoration research group has the facilities and expertise to investigate questions related to all the above areas.  Faculty, research associates and graduate students have conducted research in various resource sectors (forestry, agriculture, petroleum, mining, industrial lands, tourism and recreation) of most provinces in Canada, the Northwest Territories and internationally (Chile, Zimbabwe, China, Thailand). Some general examples of projects include:

Land Reclamation

  • Developing techniques for reconstructing soil following oil, gas and mining disturbance to avoid soil degradation (erosion), and improve and maintain soil productivity for a variety of end land uses.
  • Experimentally testing the impact of different disturbance and soil salvaging techniques on soil and water quality.
  • Designing appropriate seed mixes and developing seeding and transplanting methods for successful revegetation of a variety of disturbed sites.
  • Experimentally testing the use of soil physical and chemical amendments to improve soil fertility and structure for plant growth.
  • Consulting with regulatory agencies to develop improved criteria for standards of soil reconstruction and environmental impact assessment.

Soil Remediation

  • Developing techniques to remove or reduce levels of hydrocarbons and heavy metals from contaminated soil by means of specially selected plants, microorganisms, surfactants and solvents.