CCI Branch presents the Impacts of Oil Sands Exploration on Biodiversity in Alberta!
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Presentation Synopsis: The oil and gas exploration leaves a significant footprint on the landscape, predominantly in much of northern Alberta, where thousands of kilometers of seismic lines (linear corridors where trees are removed for mapping underground bitumen deposits) dissect various ecosystems throughout the boreal forest. In particular, treed peatlands are of interest, as natural recovery is minimal, having an essential contribution to forest fragmentation and habitat loss. In this talk, Jaime will provide a general background on the types of human disturbances across the oil sands and their environmental implications. Then, he will present some results of past and ongoing research that evaluate the impact of seismic lines on biodiversity (understory vegetation and ground invertebrates) and site conditions and will follow a discussion about passive and active restoration approaches to reduce the linear footprint. Although results contribute to the understanding of short-term effects following restoration treatments, long-term monitoring is needed to evaluate recovery trajectories and to provide assessment tools on whether such approaches are effective for restoring linear disturbances.
Speaker Bio: Jaime Pinzon is a Research Scientist with the Department of Natural Resources Canada (Canadian Forest Service), based in Edmonton at the Northern Forestry Centre. Jaime is a Biologist from Colombia, where he worked for Conservation International – Colombia as part of the Amazon Program team, carrying out biodiversity research and environmental education with indigenous communities. In 2011, Jaime earned his Ph.D. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he continued as a postdoctoral fellow. Since then, Jaime has been part of the Ecosystem Management Emulating Natural Disturbance (EMEND) project research team and holds an Adjunct Professor position with the Department of Renewable Resources. Currently, Jaime is involved with NRCan’s Cumulative Effects and Sustainable Forest Management Programs. His research focuses on spider ecology and overall biodiversity responses to natural and human disturbances, particularly in forest management and land restoration.