Growing native plants for oil sands reclamation

By: C2C Smoky Lake Forest Nursery

Smoky Lake Forest Nursery is dedicating time and energy to effectively and efficiently producing seedlings of a variety of native tree and shrub species, increasing the biodiversity available to their customers and thereby increasing the biodiversity in reclaimed ecosystems. The oil sands is an important economic driver of the Alberta economy and oil sands companies set a high priority on ecological reclamation – to create functioning ecosystems comprised of a diversity of native plant species (trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants). Until Smoky Lake Forest Nursery began their production, there was neither a reliable source of native plant material nor the expertise to propagate and mass produce seedlings from wild harvested seeds. They work closely with the oil sands industry to develop seed extraction methodologies, test the resulting seeds for viability and to determine economically feasible protocols to produce hardy and robust seedlings for re-establishing diverse plant communities.