The revegetation of disturbed dry tundra areas near Churchill, Manitoba

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Firlotte, Nicole
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In the vicinity of Churchill, Manitoba dry heath tundra is restricted to elevated gravel deposits such as beach ridges and eskers. These sites have been utilized for gravel excavation as well as providing suitable sites for building and road construction. In the Churchill region 413.31 ha of open gravel have resulted from human activities, these scar the landscape and reduce the amount of undisturbed dry heath tundra (3752.49 ha). When left alone these gravel areas may remain devoid of vegetation for many decades. The path of succession is dependent on the size of the disturbance and the resulting topography of the site. Redistribution of the overburden immediately following excavation can greatly improve the natural recovery of the site. Where the overburden is no longer available the site recovery may be greatly enhanced by fertilizer and seed application using Hedysarum mackenzii. Moisture stress is an important limiting factor for tundra vegetation and revegetation success. Soil texture can greatly influence moisture holding capacity of a site. Snow cover can provide protection from desiccating winter winds and increased moisture in spring through melting. This will improve seedling survival and lead to increase vegetation cover.