9:00 am - 10:00 am
Event details: A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Sophie Aasberg. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.
MSc with Dr. Simon Landhäusser
Thesis Topic: The role of microtopography in vegetation colonization and early forest development on mine reclamation sites.
Current forest reclamation practices often do not incorporate site heterogeneity in their practices, which might pose a challenge to the reclamation goals of restoring disturbed sites to resilient and sustainable forests. To assess the role of microtopography on forest reclamations sites, I examined the effect of increased heterogeneity on planted and naturally regenerated trees and the colonizing plant community by comparing a contoured (levelled (least heterogeneous and current practice)) treatment, a treatment that produced small parallel ridges (ridged), and a treatment (most heterogeneous) that used large loose piles of different material types pushed into alternating rows (hilled). Results showed that increased microtopographical heterogeneity (ridged and hilled) improved tree establishment and growth as well as contributed to greater native species richness compared to the more homogenous (levelled) treatment. Furthermore, increasing microtopography also encouraged natural trembling aspen and balsam poplar regeneration from seed. Overall, the hilled treatment produced the greatest positive response in tree growth and native vegetation diversity. This study highlights the positive impact of site heterogeneity on early forest establishment and species diversity and suggests a greater use of site reconstruction techniques that increase topographical and soil variability might be beneficial for forest reclamation sites.