Successful Reclamation Seeding Program in Alberta’s Oil Sands
Since 2009, the Oil Sands Vegetation Co-operative (OSVC) has banked 231 million seeds from the boreal forest in Alberta. The OSVC, now led by CNRL, a COSIA member, is an example of how oil sands companies have come together to ensure successful reclamation in Alberta’s boreal forest. (371,000 km2)
Over the past 60 years oil sands development has disturbed about 900 km2 — a relatively small disturbance (0.2%), but seen as a priority none-the-less. All oil sands producers are required by law to return disturbed lands back to a state of a self-sustaining habitat with native vegetation capable of supporting wildlife.
In 2009, OSVC started to harvest and bank seeds from plants that are considered important for establishing ecological diversity in the boreal forest. Currently, COSIA members work with the Alberta Tree Improvement and Seed Centre (ATISC) which provides seed storage at a stable -18 C in an underground bunker. All seeds are harvested, are registered and then banked in a coordinated effort following the Alberta Forest Genetic Resource Management Standard.
To date, OSVC has seeds from 43 species, representing trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from various upland, riparian and wetland habitats. We support this successful program which is seeding the future for all.