How does tree planting factor into land reclamation?

Based on the 2010 Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Forested Lands developed by the Alberta Government, reclaimed areas will be evaluated based on their capacity to provide equivalent land capability (ELC) comparable to the surrounding area. To verify this, previously forested sites are evaluated based on a number of factors including canopy cover and stem density of woody species.

Evaluating the vegetation density of sites left to naturally recover is different than sites planted with seedlings. Though all sites require woody species native to the area be present within sample plots, planted sites require 60% fewer woody plants present than natural recovery sites.

In the reclamation process, tree planting is not required at all sites as many areas will have conditions that encourage natural regeneration such as exposed mineral soil and an available seed source. Tree planting is recommended for situations where site conditions or shorter planning timelines do not permit natural regeneration of woody species.

Traits of sites not conducive to natural regeneration include:

If your site has any of these issues, please contact us, we would love to discuss your site with you!

What are the critical factors of tree planting?

This process can be broken down into two main components: seedling production and tree planting. An important consideration is that seedling production can require as much planning as the actual planting. Furthermore, how and when seedlings are available can be the primary factors around how a planting project is implemented.

The initial planning factors for seedling production are seedling characteristics and species, which are based on site conditions. They will influence what species are suitable for a site and what size of seedling is required to ensure high survival and is the most cost effective. For more information on determining suitable species and seedling characteristics, click here.

Sourcing seed is the next step in the process, requiring locating seed of the desired species within a specific seed zone. Seed zones are basically regions where all seed of a species have common genetic traits that provide adaptation of an individual for the environmental conditions within that region (for more information click here). Deploying seedlings with seed sourced from that specific seed zone is a legislative requirement and provides a much greater chance of survival for the seedling. However, this process can be labour intensive, which is why Tree Time Services has a significant seed bank and offers seed collection services.

Lastly, season of deployment and seedling ordering timelines dictate when a seedling is planted. Season of deployment refers to the two planting windows, Spring: (May 15 – June 15) and Summer (July 1 – Aug 21), for more information click here. Typically, in the planning process, season of deployment (e.g. when a seedling is to be planted) is the primary factor driving the above process. However, if seed for the desired species within a specific seed zone is unavailable or production timelines are unable to accommodate, the project can be delayed significantly.

Fortunately, our company has a significant seed bank for common tree species across several seed zones in Alberta and often grows seedlings based on speculation. Though we cannot guarantee seed or seedling availability for all projects, we recommend contacting us at any point during your project and inquiring.

How We Can Help!

Tree Time Services has experienced reclamation staff that can help with every aspect of revegetating your reclaimed site. Within the reclamation process we provide the following services:

If you have any questions about this information or our services, please contact us.

Tree Time Services