Persistence and developmental transition of wide seismic lines in the western Boreal Plains of Canada.

Integrated Landscape Management Program, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada.
Journal of Environmental Management (Impact Factor: 3.19). 03/2006; 78(3):240-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.03.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the fate of seismic lines utilized in oil and gas exploration in Canada's western Boreal Plains. It retrospectively followed the persistence, recovery and developmental transition of seismic lines established between the 1960s and the mid-1970s through to 2003. We examined lines that passed through three forest types; aspen, white spruce, and lowland black spruce. In general, the recovery rates of seismic lines to woody vegetation were low. After 35 years, 8.2% of seismic lines across all forest types had recovered to greater than 50% cover of woody vegetation. Only the upland forest types recovered; aspen and white spruce. Most seismic lines ( approximately 65% at 35 years) remained in a cleared state with a cover of low forbs. The most common transition for seismic lines was to tracked access ( approximately 20% at 35 years). Transition to other anthropogenic developments such as roads, pipelines, buildings, and timber harvest blocks was 5% after 35 years. The pulse of industrial activity initiated in the mid-1990s greatly increased the transition rate of seismic to tracked access for a short period of time. The discussion focused on natural and anthropogenic factors that hinder recovery and on the management directions that would facilitate greater recovery rates.

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