Field testing of selected salt tolerant screened balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) clones for use in reclamation around end-pit lakes associated with bitumen extraction in northern Alberta.

The fundamental challenge when reclaiming oil sands areas is to ensure not only survival, but vigorous growth of the plant material. Finding plants suitable for high salt conditions has offered the opportunity for Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. to investigate the potential role of using native balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) as a key reclamation species for the oil sands region. The main objective of this research is to identify and select balsam poplar clones from Al-Pac’s PB1 (Alberta-Pacific Controlled Parentage Program Plan) for balsam poplar that are well adapted to potentially challenging sites at an oil sands reclamation mine site near Ft. McMurray, Alberta. This project will try to supply the energy sector with well adapted, native balsam poplar trees to be used in reclamation projects across the oil sands region, where appropriate, while meeting all regulatory requirements.

Faculty Supervisor:

Barb Thomas


Yue Hu


Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.


Resources and environmental management




University of Alberta



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