Grasslands in general are difficult to restore because they are found in semi-arid environments with low annual precipitation and typically low site productivity. Low site productivity limits vegetative growth, making it difficult to restore grassland ecosystem properties, such as soil development and plant community composition. Some consequences to avoid in restoration efforts include low seedling survivorship and poor vegetative cover, poor and chloritic vegetative growth, lack of representation of native flora, lack of representation of flora of importance to First Nations, and invasion by non-native invasive plant species. Successful ecological restoration is based on research and development. Two projects target questions and problems specifically addressing the New Afton Mine property; (1) testing priority effects and assembly rules to restore grassland plant community composition, and (2) understanding and controlling for the effects of potential non-native invasive plants, such as spotted knapweed, on native plant communities and soil properties.
Partners: Dennis Wilson and Scott Davidson (New Gold)
Past students: Lisa DeSandoli (MSc); Tessa Jongbloets; Kathy Baethke (MSc); Yuying Kuang (MSc)