Aamir Shehzad Khan
Ph.D. student
Department of Phytology
Laval University

Supervised by:

Line Rochefort (Regular member)

Research project description

Large-scale assessment of restored fens and reference ecosystems characterization

Introduction: One of PERG’s (Peatland Ecology Research Group) new challenges is to focus on the restoration of fens (minerotrophic peatlands). Recent trials have shown that some plant communities typical of these ecosystems (e.g., Carex and true mosses) do not re‐establish quickly when applied mechanically and at large scale. Specific methods have therefore been developed and applied for their restoration. Objectives: This project aims at assessing the results of several fen restoration projects throughout Canada, especially in the provinces of Québec and Manitoba. To guide restoration goals, reference ecosystem for these regions will also be characterized and described. Study sites: This project involves the assessment of the results of several fen restoration projects throughout Canada, especially in the provinces of Québec and Manitoba. In Quebec, all of the peatlands investigated in this study were located near the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Québec, Canada. These study sites are: Bic─Saint-Fabien (BSF) - (48°19'22" N, 68°49'52" W). This site is part of a peatland complex that developed in a narrow valley. BSF, which is now included in the Bic National Park, is bordered by steep calcareous hills to the north and by agricultural fields to the south. Saint-Fabien-sur-Mer (SFSM). The study sites in Manitoba include: The Moss Spur (49°59"N, 96°08"W). The Moss Spur peatland is located in southeast Manitoba, about 60 km east of Winnipeg. It is part of a large peatland complex that extends over hundreds of square kilometers. The second site includes Elma North, Girox and South Julius. Material and methods: The Moss Layer Transfer Technique (MLTT) was first developed for bog restoration (Rochefort et al. 2003). Initiated in 2008, a first ecosystem-scale fen restoration project was realized in a basin fen in the lowlands of the St-Lawrence River (Québec). The first trials where the MLTT was applied on minerotrophic remnant peat conditions revealed that fen communities do not have the same requirements as Sphagnum-dominated ones. Mechanized, large-scale introduction of donor material did not result in bryophyte (mainly true mosses) establishment. Thus, strategies for reintroducing fen vegetation and ensuring rapid establishment should be developed specifically for minerotrophic environments i.e.: dispersal limitations and reintroduction methods; regeneration niche of brown mosses & fen sedges and the definition of reference ecosystems as recovery goals. References:

Research Site Coordinates

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