Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of oil sands processing emissions on the boreal forest. 1986. Addison, P.A.; L'Hirondelle, S.J.; Maynard, D.G.; Malhotra, S.S.; Khan, A.A. Canadian Forestry Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-284.

Year: 1986

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 11558

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)

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Between 1975 and 1985 a cooperative research program was carried out by the Canadian Forestry Service and Alberta Environment to determine the effects of emissions from oil sands processing on the surrounding boreal forest in the Athabasca Oil Sands area of northeastern Alaberta. Fieldwork on vegetation, soil, and atmospheric deposition was performed at several research and biomonitoring sites dominated by jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.). Significant uptake of industrial emissions by plants and soils was generally restricted to within 10 km of the major source, although some gradients extended up to 25 km. Lichens and mosses showed the greatest responses; changes in vascular plant communities could not be related to pollutant deposition. Numerous biochemical and physiological parameters were sensitive to SO2 and other pollutants in the laboratory but showed no significant differences at the field sites. The results suggest that the low level and infrequency of pollutant episodes coupled with the assimilative capacity of the soil and the physiological resiliency of vascular plants have prevented damage to the trees.