Development of forest legacy-based mine reclamation techniques for recolonizing the soil food web and promoting vegetation establishment

The August 2014 tailings dam breach at the Mount Polley Mine, BC severely disturbed downstream forest ecosystems through erosion and tailings deposition. The impacted area presents an opportunity to research using ecosystem legacies (components that survive a disturbance) to rehabilitate disturbed sites. A field trial at Mount Polley is testing seedling establishment and soil food web recolonization using three soil legacy reclamation methods: transplants of forest soil into seedling planting holes; spatial belowground connection with the undisturbed forest; and bringing forest floor buried by tailings to the surface. Greenhouse experiments are investigating the volume of soil to transplant, the role of the soil biological community in soil transplants, and the potential for seedlings to regenerate soil legacies, promoting growth of the next generation of trees. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

Suzanne Simard


Kathleen McMahen


Mount Polley Mining Corporation




Mining and quarrying




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