To make sure you don’t miss out on any Restoration Tips throughout the year, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or visit this page regularly for updates. If you have your own tips you’d like to share, tag these #ERestorationTips.
Tip #226: You’ve heard of cow tipping, but have you heard of tree tipping? While felling trees results in a rapid loss of needles, tipped and bent trees maintain root contact with soils while creating a line-of-site and movement barrier for wolves and humans on linear restoration sites of caribou habitat in the Canadian boreal forest. To see how it’s done take a look at this video: Restoring caribou habitat in northern Alberta.
Tip #225: Calgary has recently introduced goats to graze natural systems as a means of targeting invasive species in inner city parks with steep slopes or near bodies of water; As well as these conversation efforts, the goats work towards enhancing biodiversity and promoting the growth of native vegetation. The goats are monitored by shepherds with the help of dogs and horses to help restore Calgary’s natural parks!
Tip #224: Interested in how Africa plans to restore 8000km of land destroyed by desertification, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon, and create 10 million green jobs by 2030? Check out GreatGreenWall.org and the Great Green Wall Trailer.
Tip #223: Sure wolves change rivers, but who gives a dam? After a 400-year absence, the reintroduction of Beavers (Castor fiber) to wetlands in rural England has gone swimmingly. Despite initial opposition from Britain’s National Farmer’s Union, the Devon Beavers have put their restorative engineering skills to good use and turned the tides on habitat hydrology, winning over the hearts of the local people. To find out more about these eager beavers, or to see available tour times click here.
Tip #222: What’s the buzz around Brazilian Bees? Scientists study how different bee species respond to changes in Brazilian forest landscapes, and how increasing their population could improve pollen dispersal when planting trees during restoration projects. Check out the study here.
Tip #221: Are dogs taking restoration practitioners jobs? In El Maule, central Chile a trio of border collies fitted with seed-filled satchels restore 30 km of forest fire ravaged areas daily, sowing 10 kilos of seeds.
Payment comes in the form of treats for Das, Olivia and Summer.
Tip #220: In China’s Kubuqi desert, officials hope to fight off desertification by planting Desert-willow and other trees that are known to survive in desert conditions.
Tip #219: In Yellowstone National Park, biologists are removing non-native fish using rotenone, a method that inhibits the ability of cells to turn nutrients into energy, essentially starving the cells and eventually killing the fish.
Tip #218: In areas of the Pacific Northwest, drones are being used to reseed areas impacted by invasive species threatening the sagebrush steppe.
Tip #217: If you’re looking to restore tropical forests, you better utilize the restorative powers of bats and birds. They play a central role in tropical forest dynamics and were responsible for more than 90 percent of regeneration in a test study carried out in southern Mexico.
Tip #216: New research has shown that ultrasonic irradiation can be used as a viable alternative for destroying harmful algae, which is a major problem for water bodies near areas of intense agriculture.
Tip #215: Forest restoration is a continuous process that recovers ecological function and improves human well-being in deforested or degraded forest landscapes, a practice that benefits humans and biodiversity. Learn more about it here.
Tip #214: Compost tea makes your soil more active, reintroducing soil microbes and promoting fungal growth that has been lost over time.
Tip #213: Could smartphones be the future of restoration projects? Check out this app that helps monitor location and size of invasive Spartina plants in BC coastal mudflats.
Tip: #212: Need to remove excess nutrients from lakes, rivers and animal effluent systems? Try algal turf scrubbing, which also has biofuel and fertilizer potential. Learn about it here.
Tip #211: By creating “living genetic libraries,” researchers hope to ensure the world’s largest trees survive into the future. Watch this short film to learn more.
Tip #210: Although the technology is still in its infancy, tiny nanoparticles could one day be used extensively to reduce harmful environmental contaminants under challenging site conditions.
Tip #209: Floating Treatment Wetlands are an ingenious way of keeping natural waters clean. The floating platforms help aquatic plants to grow in deeper waters, where their roots uptake harmful contaminants while creating a new habitat for microorganisms that degrading these contaminants even more.
Tip #208: Electrical resistant heating is an effective method for remediating contaminated soils, which uses electrical probes to heat the subsoil and capture and then treat contaminants.
Tip #207: Using nurse plants in your restoration plans will help ensure more diversity and promote the recovery of degraded ecosystems faster than using plants without these capabilities. Learn more about these plants here.
Tip #206: Hemp is not just a revenue generator for farmers, it’s also a great way to remove heavy metals from soils. Learn more about these amazing properties of hemp here.
Tip #205: Looking for a natural way to control invasive weeds and restore native landscapes? Employ the grazing efficiency of sheep and goats, who prefer pesky weeds such as thistle, yarrow and buckbrush. Here’s a primer on using goats for vegetation management.
Tip #204: Did you know you can use hair to clean up oil spills? Put your hairdo to use and ditch those synthetics! Read this to learn how.
Tip #203: More than just a tasty herb, cilantro can also be used as an inexpensive, sustainable alternative to purifying heavy metals out of drinking water.
Tip #202: Using dredged sediment material, wetlands can not only be enhanced and restored, they can also be created! Learn more about how river sediments can be used to strengthen wetland ecosystems.
Tip #201: Weed control as a rationale for restoration? Yep, controlling the weeds and invasive vegetation that thrive in disturbed landscapes is one of many good reasons to restore to a more diverse, late-successional plant community—just look at the example of Tallgrass Prairie.
Tip #200: Ectrokinetic soil remediation is an inexpensive method of using electricity to attract heavy metals and organic contaminants towards electrodes for easy removal—featured in this video.
Tip #199: Restoring native grasslands can be aided by reintroducing grazing and fire to these landscapes or by mechanically removing invading woody vegetation. See this guide for best management practices from the Manitoba Forage Council.
Tip #198: Many thousands of bacterial species can be found in just one gram of soil, and they collectively sculpt entire ecosystems. That reality is forcing scientists to rethink conventional restoration practices.
Tip #197: Almost 90 percent of plants rely on a symbiotic relationship with fungi, which improves nutrient availability and growth for both species. Inoculating soil and plants with mycorrhizal fungi during restoration can result in a faster return to ecological equilibrium.
Tip #196: Soil remediation using plants (see Phytoremediation Potential of Bioenergy Plants) can be an economical and sustainable way practice after every growing season, plus harvested biomass can be used for manufacturing textiles, plastics and bio-fuels.
Tip #195: Feeling the heat? Perhaps try reintroducing Indigenous burning methods along with contemporary techniques to restore certain landscapes and to ensure that destructive wildfires occur less often.
Tip #194: Have you ever heard of a trophic cascade? Learn how the reintroduction of wolves is within Yellowstone National Park has triggered a chain reaction of ecosystem regeneration.
Tip #193: When restoring vegetation, try not to create a monster plant! In attempts to restore coastal marshes near San Francisco decades ago, engineers unwittingly created vast invasive monocultures.
Tip #192: Using natural processes to restore disturbed sites decreases costs and utilizes pioneer species to pave the way to regeneration. Learn more in this report from SER-WC’s David Polster.
Tip #191: Want to get rid of Yellow Flag Iris? Add a benthic barrier after removing this invasive species, which will suppress regrowth. See our guest article from CSISS for more information.
Tip #190: Need more help with your research? A new report says citizen science can be used not just to support science and research, but also to advance learning and get people involved.
Tip #189: Want to protect bats from white-nose syndrome? Bat Acoustic Monitoring Portal (BatAMP) is a centralized, web-based system that allows researchers to upload and share data derived from acoustic monitoring projects.
Tip #188: Are you involved in the protection of critical habitat on private land or have an interest in the decision making process? Check out this new resource from the SCCP – New Decision Guide for Protecting Critical Habitat on Private Land
Tip #187: Check out the Special Report on Conserving Fish Habitats under the Forest and Range Practices Act provided by the FPB.
Tip #186: Happy National Forest Week! Find out how you can get involved here and check out this video from the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Tip #185: What is the difference between noxious and invasive? Click here to find out.
Tip #184: Summer is quickly coming to an end and spring seems a long ways off…however it is never to early to start planning a wildlife habitat garden. Check out this new resource from the SCCP: Gardening with Native Plants Guide
Tip #183: Can we create multi-functional forests? As part of the Piper Creek Restoration Agriculture Project, Red Deer created one of the largest edible forests and pollinator gardens. (Tip courtesy of University of Saskatchewan Students)
Tip #182: Are you involved in assessing how climate change will affect ecosystems? ALivE is a new tool for Ecosystem-based Adaptation developed by IISD.
Tip #181: Interested in citizen science? Check out NatureLynx, a new app created by Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute where users actively contribute to our scientific understanding of Alberta’s ecosystems.
Tip #180: Are you involved in wetland restoration and looking for related training resources? The Association of State Wetland Managers offers a Wetland Training Webinar Series focused on wetlands & restoration options/considerations. To view these webinars, visit their website.
Tip #179: Looking for a new channel to add to your podcast lineup? Why not check out the new Nature Conservancy Canada podcast Nature Talks
Tip #178: Does your work focus on Native Grasslands? Check out this new resource from AEP on Conservation Assessments – Strategic Siting and Pre-disturbance Site Assessment Methodology for Industrial Activities on Native Grasslands
Tip #177: Interested in connectivity analysis? The CBI recently released the free Linkage Mapper Software, v2.0, a GIS toolbox designed to support regional wildlife habitat connectivity analyses.
Tip #176: Are you interesting in conserving pollinator habitat? Check out the guides from Pollinators Canada on selecting plants for your ecoregion
Tip #175: Why is seed storage so important? And how might you store small batches, while controlling for humidity and temperature? Why not make your own portable after-ripening bucket? Read more…
Tip #174: Want to know more about ecological restoration in Canada? In honour of Canada Day, learn about how we are protecting species, habitats, and ecosystems here.
Tip #173: Are you looking for new resources to compliment your species ID skills? Are you a budding citizen scientist? Want to contribute to the collection of biodiversity data? Check out the iNaturalist app, available through Google Play & iTunes inaturalist.org
Tip #172: Do you have Garry Oak trees on your property? Thinking about growing wild flowers? The Habitat Acquisition Trust explains how to do this using oak leaves here: ht.ly/RQBF30ku7hg. Bonus: You will also be caring for a very important ecosystem!
Tip #171: Are you considering local wild seed collection for your restoration project? Check out the article “Should I pick that? A scoring tool to prioritize and valuate native wild seed for restoration“. The proposed tool “can be applied to various restoration applications to assess relative effort, to plan and prioritize species for restoration projects and to help set fair seed pricing”
Tip #170: Why are green roofs useful for grassland and prairie conservation? Check out this research paper Carabid and spider population dynamics on urban green roofs(Bergeron, Pinzon & Spence, 2018) for more information.
Tip #169: Want to learn more about nature and wildlife? Use these ID and information guides from Edmonton Area Land Trust.
Tip #168: How big is Canada’s Boreal forest? Well, it spans from Alaska to Labrador and is the largest intact forest left on the planet. If you do work here, be sure to follow & check out resources provided by Boreal Conservation!
Tip #167: The SER’s Restoration Resource Center is an interactive platform for knowledge exchange and learning in the field of ecological restoration that provides access to a wide variety of resources, publications, & project information.
Tip #166: Looking for webinar resources related to riparian health and management? Why not check out the webinar channel offered by Cows and Fish.
Tip #165: Have you heard about a new ‘poplar’ way to deal with heavy metal contaminated soils? Poplars and their hybrids are the way to go! Due to their high biomass, genetics, and ability to tolerate high concentrations of heavy metals, Poplars, can accumulate contaminants within their xylem and leaves. This helps to immobilize heavy metals, stabilize sites, and restore soils. For more info check out this paper: http://ht.ly/od4330jEREU. Tip provided by Wyatt Moore from the University of Saskatchewan.
Tip #164: Happy Earth Day! Why not check out events in your area earthday.ca/ed2018/earth-d…, or share them with us using #EarthDay2018
Tip #163: Are you looking for Restoration Opportunities in your area? Look no further… check out the updated Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities .
Tip #162: Looking for a tool to help you identify the type of soil(s) at your restoration site? Check out BC’s soil information finder (SIFT).
Tip #161: Five ways to save a lake via Nature Conservancy Canada
Tip #160: Tea soothes the soul, but it can also soothe your soil. Compost tea application is a technology used to improve soil health by increasing the bacterial and fungal communities of degraded landscapes. The “cold brewing” process allows the growth of organisms extracted from the compost. Check out Terra Erosion Control for more information on compost tea application and watch this short video if you want to make your own. Tip provided by Layton Willick from the University of Saskatchewan.
Tip #159: Looking for tools and resources related to Wildlife Species Inventory and Habitat Information? Check these resources recommended provided by KCP.
Tip #158: Looking for products and tools that are available for accessing, capturing, and interpreting fish and fish habitat information in BC? Check out this link provided by KCP.
Tip #157: Their bite is right! Livestock prefer leafy plants & are a great tool for fighting #InvasiveSpecies in rangelands. Leafy Spurge is an example of an invasive that can be managed through grazing. For best results a grazing plan should be made: jstor.org/stable/4003874. Tip provided by Anna Jacobson from the University of Saskatchewan.
Tip #156: The books every ocean lover should read in 2018!
Tip #155: Want to better understand how the suitability of biodiversity habitat has been modified? Check out ABMI’s Biodiversity Intactness Index
Tip #154: Looking for a job in Environmental Studies and Ecology? Check out this facebook group hosted by UVic.
Tip #153: Following the theme of wetlands, check out these practical ways cities can manage and preserve urban wetlands.
Tip #152: #SERWC2018 is just around the corner! Why not register, and take in some of the great speakers and sessions we have lined up! serwc2018.ca/home/
Tip #151: #SERWC2018 is just around the corner! Why not register, and take in some of the great speakers and sessions we have lined up! serwc2018.ca/home/
Tip #150: In need of some restoration-related resources? Why not check out the SER’s new Restoration Resource Centre!
Tip #148: Need a break during the holidays? Check out these winning shots from National Geographic.
Tip #147: Find out how to take care of your Christmas tree here.
Tip #145: How do we create Sustainable Funding for Ecosystems and Watersheds? Check out this video by Columbia Basin Watershed Network.
Tip #144: Check out Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institutes recently launched Caribou Monitoring Unit.
Tip #143: Looking for conservation resources? Look no further, check out Kootenay Conservation Program list of resources.
Tip #142: How do plants respond to predators? Watch this video!
Tip #141: Weekly Tip from Rocky Top Ranch & KCP: How to conserve an infected Pine Tree. Read more…
Tip #140: Fall Clean-Up – What should you do with those invasive plants? Find out here.
Tip #139: Still looking for that perfect halloween costume? Check out these nature-inspired ideas!
Tip #138: It’s that time of year again, when our forests wear reds, oranges, and yellows! What causes this beautiful display of colour? Read on to find out why.
Tip #137: Looking for Stewardship resources? Check out the Stewardship Centre for BC.
Tip #136: Use the Alberta Water Tool for real-time information about water resources in AB.
Tip #135: Cope with the slope – 4 eco-friendly tips for fighting soil erosion can be found here.
Tip #134: Happy National Forest Week! Find out how to participate here.
Tip #133: What is a wetland? AB’s Living Laboratory Project explains here.
Tip #132: NAIT’s Boreal Research Institute discusses Wellsite Clay Pad Removal & Peat Inversion here.
Tip #131: Use Canada’s Water InfoStream for water information from provinces and territories across Canada.
Tip #130: Best Practices Guidelines for Drone Pilots conducting ecological surveys.
Tip #129: Check out ABMI’s Data & Analytics Portal!
Tip #128: Looking for a conference to attend in 2018? Why not #SERWC2018! Check out our upcoming conference at serwc2018.ca
Tip #127: What are eco-assets? Project Watershed explains here.
Tip #126: Check out ForestGEO, a unified, global network of forest research plots and scientists dedicated to the study of tropical and temperate forest function and diversity. The multi-institutional network comprises over 60 forest research plots across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, with a strong focus on tropical regions. CTFS-ForestGEO monitors the growth and survival of approximately 6 million trees and 10,000 species that occur in the forest plots.
Tip #125: Get out and enjoy local restoration projects! Check out Burnaby’s Stoney Creek Trail this summer!
Tip #124: Looking for resources that map invasive species, look no further:
Tip #123: Got an issue or idea related to the environment/conservation in AB? Check out Community Conserve
Tip #122: Looking for a way to get involved in academic research? Check out the Zooniverse!
Tip #121: Like watching webinars? Check out the Science & Technology Training Library
Tip #120: Check out the Invasive Species Centre’s recently launched Risk Assessment Database!
Tip #119: Use your smart phone to access Alberta Plant Species List.
Tip #118: Looking for a wetland inventory in MB? Look no further, MHHC has what you need!
Tip #117: Looking for a resource that measures and maps precipitation? Check out CoCoRaHS!
Tip #116: Seeking easy access to journal articles and ER resources? Check out the Restoration Ecology App!
Tip #115: Need a tool to access data on the status & location of species & ecosystems? Check out NatureServe!
Tip #114: Looking for resources on Species at Risk? Check out SCCP’s YouTube channel!
Tip #113: Spring is in the air & birds are everywhere! Learn how to record bird songs with your smartphone.
Tip #112: Looking for a tool to assist in land management decisions? Check out Alberta’s Soil Information Viewer!
Tip #111: If you have a wetland on your property, consider creating a Ribbon of Life to improve water quality and biodiversity and prevent future deterioration of the wetland. A Ribbon of Life is a buffer zone that has been revegetated with native plants to prevent erosion, contaminant runoff, and overheating of waters, while restoring natural habitat and beauty. Check out the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s guide for creating a Ribbon of Life and selecting appropriate native plants. (Tip contributed by Kyra Mazer, Environmental Sciences student at the University of Saskatchewan)
Tip #110: Use ShoreZone for a close-up inventory of the biology and geology of North America’s Pacific coast shorezone.org
Tip #109: What is an estuary? Project Watershed describes them in this video.
Tip #108: The Athabasca oil sands are the third largest oil reserves in the world and so the discovery of naturally occurring re-growth on these degraded sites, without any human intervention is quite a surprise. Natalie Blaine, a Master’s student here at the University of Saskatchewan is researching this mystery. She has found that the presence of certain types of bacteria called Endophytes are responsible for the plant growth in these less then ideal environments. Blaine has found that these types of bacteria can be artificially produced in a lab; which in turn can create new ways for future restoration in Canadian boreal forests. See the full article here: https://news.usask.ca/articles/research/2016/bacteria-may-hold-secret-to-oil-sands-remediation.php (Tip contributed by Brooke Anderson, Environmental Sciences student at the University of Saskatchewan)
Tip #107: With spring in the air, check out the Propagation Protocol Database.
Tip #106: Check out Saskatchewan’s Breeding Bird Atlas.
Tip #105: Turn your yard into a pollinator haven. The David Suzuki Foundation explains how, here.
Tip #104: Is your work focused in the arctic? Check out POLAR Canada for funding info, job opps, & more.
Tip #103: Did you hear the joke about the fungus? I could tell it to you, but it might need time to grow on you. Mycorrhizal fungi work by adding to the plants’ ability to gather nutrients and water from the soil. The relationship between the fungi and the plant is a symbiotic one. Restoration practitioners as well as ecologists are continually learning how useful mycorrhizal fungi can be in restoring damaged ecosystems. The following paper: “The Potential Role of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in the Restoration of Degraded Lands” can help us to understand the role mycorrhizal plays in the soil as well as its potential in restoration. (Tip contributed by Anique Josuttes, Agronomy student at the University of Saskatchewan)
Tip #102: How is animal agriculture adapting in response to changing climate? Find out here.
Tip #101: Want to know more about peatlands & reclamation success? Check out this presentation by Dale Vitt.
Tip #100: Are you a forest manager seeking climatic info for planting sites? Check out the Seedlot Selection Tool!
Tip #99: New tool to explore future climate projections and soil site sensitivity.
Tip #98: Join the Habitat Network, a citizen science project transforming our landscape.
Tip #97: Does your work involve wetlands in BC? Check out the new resource Wetland Ways.
Tip #96: ISCBC recently launched their PlantWise website and App! PlantWise is a provincial program that supports the (ornamental) horticulture industry’s transition to become invasive-free, and is helping gardeners and industry understand which plants are invasive and harmful to our communities, and to make ‘PlantWise’ choices.
Tip #95: What is an Urban Forest and how can you protect one? The Habitat Acquisition Trust refers to the following definition: “…an interconnected network of green space that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions and provides associated benefits to human populations.” (Benedict and McMahon, 2002). For more information, click here.
Tip #94: How reinventing old roads is helping to conserve boreal wetlands – “Since the early days of Canada’s timber trade, foresters have used corduroy roads. By laying logs down side by side (giving the appearance of corduroy fabric) they built paths over wet areas, allowing the water to flow through…” Read the complete article here.
Tip #93: Check out these useful tools – COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database and COMADRE Animal Matrix Database. COMPADRE and COMADRE contain matrix population models of hundreds of plant and animal species.
Tip #92: In their recent newsletter, Cows and Fish describe the difference between a wetland and a riparian area. Click here to read their article (scroll to the end of the newsletter).
Tip #91: Check out SER’s International Network for Seed-Based Restoration – This network is a section of the Society of Ecological Restoration that would bring together professionals, scientists, practitioners, students, industry, government and organisations such as botanic gardens from the international community who have an interest in promoting and enhancing seed-based solutions in restoration (Prof. Kingsley Dixon).
Tip #90: Foothills Research Institute provides update on Linear Feature Restoration in Caribou Ranges. For the complete article, click here. For the December 2015 update, click here.
Tip #89: Organic matter serves an important role in soil health. Read more here.
Tip88: What is Habitat Heterogeneity? And why is it important to prairie ecology? Click here to read more.
Tip #87: Stay up-to-date with the latest research and industry practices in forestry, conservation, bioenergy, climate change, and natural resources using these webinars!
Tip #86: Check out the Sage Grouse Initiative’s interactive resources and web applications. The Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) is a partnership of ranchers, agencies, universities, non-profit groups, and businesses that embrace a common vision: wildlife conservation through sustainable ranching.
Tip #85: Check out the resources provide by the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent.
Tip #84: What is Bioclimatic Mapping, and how is it used to track Forest Insects and Diseases? Natural Resources Canada explains here.
Tip #83: Getting Climate Adaptation Tools Out There – A Workshop Process Guide
Tip #82: Check out the publication “Ecosystem Services Assessment Pollination Services Report”. Ecosystem services are the benefits provided by nature that contribute to our health and wellbeing. Despite the essential role that ecosystem services play in our lives, they’re often ignored in decision-making because we don’t recognize their value. This project aims to change that by measuring and valuing these services.
Tip #81: How does climate change impact the distribution of tree species, and what adaptation tools are available? Read more at Natural Resources Canada.
Tip #80: As fire season ramps up, it’s important to note that fire is a normal, natural process. Read more about why. Check out the University of Victoria’s digital field guide for BC central coastal species here. Or you can download the app here.
Tip #79: Check out the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management’s National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration. The National Seed Strategy for Rehabilitation and Restoration 2015-2020 is designed to provide a more coordinated approach among tribal, state, federal, local and private entities, including commercial growers, to restoring plant communities.
Tip #78: Watch these videos to learn the step-by-step procedures for detection of invasive species.
Tip #77: It’s that time of year! The Oldman Watershed Council talks about how to plant a prairie urban garden. For more information visit their website.
Tip #76: 7 core principles for restoring fire-prone Inland Pacific landscapes (Hessburg et al., 2015) Read more. The Prairie Ecologist tells us about shifting mosaic of habitats and how it is employed in prairies. Read more here.
Tip #75: Scientific journals are evolving, using videos to document experimental techniques. Check out JoVe, and some of its interesting videos here.
Tip #74: Looking for new training opportunities? Check out “WATER” – Watersheds & Aquatics Training for students & professionals in Environmental Research. They offer non-credit courses for students and professionals in aquatic sciences, and are also interested in developing new professional courses based on need/demand. Aggressive Weed or Opportunistic Plant? It’s Good to Know the Difference. See how to here.
Tip #73: Looking for new tools? Try BC’s new Invasive Alien Plant Program (IAPP) Application for Invasive Species.
Tip #72: Check out MycoDB, a database of research analyzing how mycorrhizal fungi affect plant productivity. The database was co-created by University of Alberta ALES ecologist Justine Karst.
Tip #71: Soil – A Precious Natural Resource > Soil is more than the basis for “prime” development land or arable land. Soil is also a habitat and source of biodiversity. Read more…
Tip #70: How do wildfires impact a watershed? The Alberta Water Portal explains here.
Tip #69: What is Prairie? The Prairie Conservation Forum explains here.
Tip #68: How and why to save seeds. Read more here.
Tip #67: Check out University of Arizona’s Desert Flows Database. If interesting in learning how to use the database, check out their YouTube video.
Tip #66: Check out the Forest Research Institute’s new website lessonsfromnature.ca
Tip #65: Learn about types of reservoirs and their lifecycle from Alberta Water Portal.
Tip #64: Want to learn about working with beavers to restore streams, wetlands & floodplains? Read the guide compiled by the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Tip #63: Pacific Salmon Explorer – a platform for exploring the status of salmon populations and various pressures on their habitats in the Skeena River watershed.
Tip #62: Check out BC’s Stewardship Series, a roster of 19 guides published over the past 18 years that educates British Columbians with scientific, legal and technical information on protecting BC’s natural heritage and implementing stewardship practices particularly in urban and sub-urban areas.
Tip #61: Caribou and why protecting their ecosystems is important. CPAWS tells you why here.
Tip #60: Susan McGillivray Applies the Peatlands Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities to Minimal Disturbance Sites. Watch the videos here – [Video 1] [Video 2]
Tip #59: Read the report “State of North America’s Birds 2016” by the NABCI Tip #38: Use the BC Species & Ecosystems Explorer to search for data & info about plants, animals & ecosystems.
Tip #58: Let’s Talk Fish Habitat here.
Tip #57: Ever wonder why water never gets warm under a certain depth? Fascinating information on how lake temperature works.
Tip #56: Check out Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange, targeted at managing Canadian boreal forest wetlands. The workshop focused on collaborative engagement with participants to discuss planning and operating BMPs that could be adopted by regulators, industry and other stakeholders to effectively manage Canadian boreal forest wetlands. Participants included industry, government, consultants and not-for-profits.
Tip #55: Use QGIS – A free and open source geographic information system.
Tip #54: Interested in the EA Process and changes being made? Check out the Expert Panel – Review of Environmental Assessment Processes.
Tip #53: Need a tool for plant IDs? Check out Flora ID Northwest.
Tip #52: LCD Mapper provides unified info about the suite of landscape conservation designs supported by LCCs.
Tip #51: Looking for interesting articles & stories? Check out Ensia Media for great reads & resources
Tip #50: Native Prairie – Manage it today appreciate it tomorrow. Read the complete report here.
Tip #49: Interested in peatland restoration ? Check out the Cambridge University Press resource Peatland Restoration and Ecosystem Services: Science, Policy and Practice.
Tip #48: Prefer using video resources? Check out NPLCC’s Youtube channel!
Tip #47: Did you know that the Canada Parks Council worked with a number of organizations and agencies (including SER) to develop the document Principles and Guidelines for Ecological Restoration in Canada’s Protected Natural Areas (Canada Parks Council, 2008)? Follow the link to read the document.
Tip #46: What is soil bioengineering? Learn about using live plants for stabilization and erosion control in Soil Bioengineering Techniques for Riparian Restoration (Polster, 2002). This paper outlines techniques including live staking, wattle fences, and live palisades.
Tip #45: Evergreen’s Native Plant Database is a useful tool for finding native species to grow in your region. Are you a native species expert? Help add to the database.
Tip #44: Take a read through Dead planet, living planet: Biodiversity and ecosystem restoration for sustainable development (United Nations Environment Programme, 2010) for inspiration! The report “documents over 30 successful case studies referencing thousands of restoration projects ranging from deserts and rainforests to rivers and coasts” and “confirms that restoration is not only possible but can prove highly profitable in terms of public savings; returns and the broad objectives of overcoming poverty and achieving sustainability”.
Tip #43: In honour of World Wetland Day on February 1, 2015, we’re promoting wetland restoration. First, learn what a wetland is by reviewing the The Canadian Wetland Classification System (or read the Ducks Unlimited summary). An Introduction and Users Guide to Wetland Restoration, Creation, and Enhancement published by the US Environmental Protection Agency provides guidance on how to plan, implement and monitor a wetland restoration project. Environment Canada also has useful wetland resources for Canadians.
Tip #42: Many restoration projects rely on good volunteers. The Land Stewardship Centre has developed some helpful resources, including a Stewardship Toolbox and tips on being a great place to volunteer.
Tip #41: Restoration in Canada’s north has many unique challenges: access, northern environmental conditions (such as permafrost and short growing seasons), community needs, and climate change. The document Guidelines for the Closure and Reclamation of Advanced Mineral Exploration and Mine Sites in the Northwest Territories – 2013 provides insight into limitations and considerations for restoration work in northern environments.
Tip#40: This Ecological Site Restoration Risk Analysis is a planning tool that can be used by developers and land use professionals to predict the restoration potential for a disturbed site. The tool integrates information from vegetation inventories, ecological site descriptions, and native plant communities to estimate how sensitive a site will be to development and the likelihood that restoration efforts will succeed. Spring is on its way, and so are high flows associated with snowmelt and high rainfall months. For any active restoration projects, this often means consideration of sediment and erosion control measures. This US Environmental Protection Agency guidance document has useful descriptions of mitigation measures, how to use them, and their pros/cons (scroll to pate 3-13). Here is an example of an inspection checklist to confirm if sediment and erosion control measures are in place and working as designed.
Tip #39: Planning for collection and propagation of native species this field season? The Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team has resources on native plant flowering times and seed collection times, as well as guidelines for propagation and ethical collection/use of native plants.
Tip #38: Looking to control erosion and promote vegetation growth? Try the “rough and loose” approach.
Tip #37: Happy Canada Water Week! To celebrate, we recommend reading some of the BC Stewardship Centre’s publications, including Shoreline Structures Environmental Design, Stream Stewardship, The Streamkeepers Handbook, The Wetlandkeepers Handbook, Water Stewardship, and Watershed Stewardship. In Shoreline Structures Environmental Design we learned about 11 plant species that can be successfully established via cuttings.
Tip #36: Spring has sprung! If you’re picking up some new plants for your garden, take a look at your regional Grow Me Instead Guide to help stop the spread of invasive species. Guides for: BC, Alberta, Manitoba, and Yukon Territory. Tip #14: In the spirit of Easter, learn how to restore habitat for the Nuttall’s Cottontail, which is listed as of Special Concern under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Species at Risk Act. Learn about their habitat needs in the Management Plan for the Nuttall’s Cottontail nuttallii subspecies (Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii) in Canada [Proposed]
Tip #35: Understanding and selecting soil amendments can be an overwhelming process. The Role of Organic Soil Amendments in Reclamation: A Review examines mechanisms through which organic amendments affect soil properties (physical, chemical, biological) and describes the role of organic amendments in reclamation, with emphasis on amendment types and application rates for soil amelioration and biomass production.
Tip #34: As discussed in Tip #11, surface roughening creates more diverse plant microsites, helps retain moisture, and reduces erosion. A second technique that promotes these benefits is application of coarse woody debris to a site undergoing reclamation. As described in Best Management Practices for Conservation of Reclamation Materials in the Mineable Oil Sands Region of Alberta (page 42), coarse woody debris can help create more diverse microsites and habitats, retain moisture, contribute to long-term soil organic matter, and improve catch of native seeds (or be a transport agent for native seeds and microorganisims). Larger debris with a lower surface area to volume ratio take longer to break down and reduce the risk of tying up valuable soil nitrogen in the decay process. Given the risk of nitrogen being consumed in the wood decay process, appropriate application rates should be selected with an understanding of the site nutrient balance.
Tip #33: If you’re working on a wetland or riparian restoration project, cattails may be a useful native species to incorporate into your revegetation program. Try collecting the seeds yourself from a local wetland, as seen in this video (it’s true, everything really can be found on the internet!). In the video, the seeds are planted individually and grown up as seedlings for transplanting, but for large-scale restoration, this is not necessarily reasonable or cost effective. A better option is to spread the seeds and squish them into the moist soil with your boots.
Tip #32: Are you serious about ecological restoration? Formal education options range from online courses to degrees from institutions across the country
Tip #31: Spring is the optimal time for prescribed burning. The Parks Canada website provides background on the history and role of wildfire management. As prescribed burning becomes a more common technique (refer to work being done by the BC Wildfire Branch as an example), take the time to educate yourself on the role of fire in restoring adapted grassland ecosystems (Toledo, Sorice and Kreuter, 2013).
Tip #30: Unfortunately, restoration activities come with a cost. If you have a project idea, but no funding, check out the SER-WC Funding Opportunities page.
Tip #29: The United Nations Environment Programme defines Phytoremediation as “the direct use of living green plants for in situ, or in place, removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water and groundwater”. How can you incorporate it into your restoration plans? A good place to start is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Phytotechnology Overiew. Their Phytotechnologies for Site Cleanup factsheet describes different phytoremediation mechanisms, applications, advantages/ disadvantages, and case studies.
Tip #28: Integrated pest management and integrated vegetation management (links to US Environmental Protection Agency Fact Sheets) are broad principles applied across industries, including horticulture and agriculture. A major application related to ecological restoration, rehabilitation, and reclamation is invasive species management. Here are a number of examples of integrated management plans. To learn more, the BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan/Manitoba integrated vegetation management associations are useful resources.
Tip #27: Mycorrhizae are defined by the Soil Science Society of America as “literally ‘fungus root’. The association, usually symbiotic, of specific fungi.” Mycorrhizae are known to play an important role in plant establishment and survival, including nutrient and water uptake. The Use of Biotechnology in the Restoration of Disturbed Ecosystems provides useful background information on how understanding plant-mycorrhizal interactions can shed light on methods for reclamation and restoration. The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal inoculation at a roadside prairie restoration site provides an example of effective use of mycorrhizal inoculation at a restoration site.
Tip #26: Some industrial projects require salvaging and stockpiling of soil for future use in reclamation. The Practical Guide to Reclamation in Utah, among other information on progressive steps for reclamation and Best Management Practices, provides practical guidance on procedures for assessing, salvaging, and storing soil. One helpful tip we liked: “Leave pedestals, which are small islands of topsoil, to verify soil removal depth.”
Tip #25: Get back to basics and review the building blocks of ecological restoration in the Society For Ecological Restoration (SER) International Primer on Ecological Restoration.
Tip #25: Interested in learning from home? One place to find free online courses is edx, which offers a variety of free courses on biology and life sciences. Courses such as Introduction to Water and Climate, Tropical Coastal Ecosystems, and Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Egology, as well as a variety of basic biology courses might be of interest to budding restorationists.
Tip #24: Genomics is a discipline in genetics that applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism). It is a rapidly expanding science and has many potential applications to environmental sciences, including ecological restoration. The recently published paper An Evaluation of Potential Applications of Genomics in the Mining Industry prepared by SRK Consulting Inc. for Genome BC and the Ontario Genomics Institute provides an interesting summary of how genomics can be used in passive water treatment (ex. constructed wetlands) and as a tool for understanding ecosystem characteristics. Two other relevant papers that may be of interest: At the Crossroads of Genomics and Ecology: The Promise of a Canary on a Chip (Klaper and Thomas, 2004) and Next generation restoration genetics: applications and opportunities (Williams, Nevill and Krauss, 2014).
Tip #23: With the hot, dry summer conditions this year, above average temperatures in streams and river are causing stress on fish populations. If is for this reason that propagation of riparian vegetation and establishment of shade producing structures are a key element of riparian restoration. Learn more in the Stewardship Centre for BC’s Shoreline Structures Environmental Design – A Guide for Structures along Estuaries and Large Rivers.The UK government has also published useful reference information on the role of riparian shade in controlling stream water temperature in a changing climate.
Tip #22: With the dry conditions that have hit Western Canada this spring and summer, it is a good reminder of one of the benefits of planting native species: native plants are adapted to regional climatic conditions. This becomes clear when gardeners (or restorationists) attempt to grow non-native species, which require irrigation to survive, especially in unusually dry conditions. View the Native Plants section of our Links and Reference Materials webpage for more information.
Tip #21: Are you or people you know waterfront property owners? Nature Canada’s Living by Water project provides programs, services and materials to promote the value of keeping these shorelines healthy, and emphasize what we all can do to help care for them. The Nature Canada website has resources for each season, and the provincial organizations offer additional support.
Tip #20: Did you know it is the United Nations decade of biodiversity from 2011 – 2020? Ecological restoration is a means of conserving biodiversity and sustaining livelihoods. Read this call to action by the ecological restoration joint working group of Society For Ecological Restoration and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management. Learn more about the Convention on Biodiversity.
Tip #19: Did you know that we scan job postings across Western Canada and regularly update the SER-WC job board with posting that might be of interest to restorationists? The page also has links to volunteer opportunities. Please feel free to share any relevant opportunities or postings with us!
Tip #18: It’s been a hot, dry summer and you may be wondering, how do I tell if a tree is dead or alive? For deciduous trees, try breaking a twig; if they snap and break like dead, dry twigs it could mean the tree has died. On the other hand, if the twigs bend and don’t break with a snap, the tree may still be alive. Another test is to scrape bark from a small twig or branch. If the tissue under the bark is green and moist, the tree may still be alive. To be absolutely sure the tree is not dead, wait until the next spring to see if it sprouts a new crop of leaves. More information is available at from this Texas Forest Service article. For conifers, one of the first clear signs that a tree is dead is a uniform change in foliage color throughout the entire crown of the tree. If there is doubt as to whether a tree is alive or dead, a simple test is to cut or chop into the inner bark or phloem. The phloem is the living portion of the bark immediately adjacent to the wood. On a live conifer, the inner bark is cream-colored, often with a tinge of pink, and moist. Dead inner bark is brown and may appear moist, dry, or resin-soaked. When the inner bark is dead around the entire circumference of the tree trunk, the tree is dead. More information is available from this California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Tree Note.
Tip #17: Often willow cuttings are collected in the fall or winter (when dormant) and stored until spring when they can be planted. Did you know that long-term storage isn’t required, and that you can harvest and plant willows in the fall? For most species, pre-soaking the willows for 5-14 days is recommended to increase the speed of root formation. More information on harvesting, storing, and planting willow cuttings.
Tip #16: Looking for inspiration for a restoration project? Check out SER-WC’s Restoration Showcase for information on projects that have been carried out across Western Canada. If you have a project your proud of, please send us information/photos and we’ll add it to the showcase!
Tip #15: Wondering how to monitor large-scale or remote ecological restoration projects? The Remote Sensing Special Issue “Ecological Status and Change by Remote Sensing” from MDPI Open Access Journals provides an overview of many potential remote sensing applications.
Tip #14: Why become a SER member? Member benefits include a subscription to the informative e-newsletter, discounted rates for conference registration, journal subscriptions, and books, access to the online members community and Career Centre, and more! It’s only $5 extra for SER members to to join the SER-WC chapter to get connected regionally. Learn how to become a member.
Tip #13: Fall is often the time of year for carrying out revegetation assessments for reclamation and restoration projects. The University of Idaho College of Natural Resources has three lessons online on how to measure vegetation density. A thorough resource is Measurements for Terrestrial Vegetation, a book by Charles Bonham.
Tip #12: As fall approaches, water temperatures are cooling down. National Geographic had some helpful illustrations for understanding lake turnover, which is the breakdown of thermal stratification when water temperatures change in spring and fall. This process brings oxygen depleted water up from the depths and takes oxygen down to decomposing sediments. As plant nutrients in the bottom sediments are stirred up, they provide fertile water for plant and algae growth. This turnover or water circulation is a key process that determines the cycling of oxygen, sediment and nutrients within a lake (Government of New Brunswick).
Tip #11: Interested in collecting some native seeds for next year’s restoratoin project? Here are some resources: Native Seed Harvesting and Marketing (Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, 2000) Alberta Native Plants and Seeds: Wild Harvest, Registration and Deployment (NAIT Boreal Research Institute, 2011) Native Seed Collecting and Saving (North American Native Plant Society) Forest Practice Code: Seed and Vegetative Material Guidebook (BC Ministry of Forests, 2005) Ethical Guidelines for the Collection and Use of Native Plants [and associated reference material] (Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team)
Tip #10: Soil is more than just dirt! Soil is full of microbes and mycorrhizal networks, which allow plants to communicate and share resources, even among different plant species. Learn more in the summary paper Inter-plant communication through mycorrhizal networks mediates complex adaptive behaviour in plant communities (Gorzelak, M.A., Asay, A.K., Pickles, B.J. and Simard, S.W., 2015).
Tip #9: What are the most commonly used techniques for soil restoration at post mining sites and how do they work? Click here to read more.
Tip #8: Biomimicry is based on the idea that “the best ideas might not be ours. They might already have been invented ” (Janine Benyus). To learn more about biomimicry watch Janine Benyus’ talk at SXSW Eco Conference or visit Biomimicry 3.8.
Tip #7: “Is it a disaster or merely a catastrophe? Living with disturbance”. In this video, Bruce Larson, professor and FRBC Chair of Silviculture for the faculty of Forestry for the University of British Columbia, discusses the recovery process after a natural disturbance or catastrophe. He talks about disturbance through an ecological and sociological lens, and provides many examples of natural disasters in different locations, as well as the results. Economic and ecological aspects of recovery are elaborated on. He concludes with the assertion that there is no one proper path recovery; that recovery depends on the perspective and priorities of the individual. This presentation was a part of the Mountain Pine Beetle Information Exchange Forum in April, 2015. To view the video, click here.
Tip #6: Use these Grassland & Riparian Health Assessment Tools posted by the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan when in the field.
Tip #5: Site preparation in reclamation and restoration projects is known to create improved plant microsites. This Forestry Canada and BC Ministry of Forests site preparation guidance document is a useful tool for determining the most appropriate surface preparation type and equipment. Tip
Tip #4: When in the field use Duck Unlimited Canada’s Field Guide of Boreal Wetland Classes in the Boreal Plains Ecozone of Canada. It includes five major wetlands classes and 19 minor classes.
Tip #3: In situ extraction of oil sands reserves requires the production of many temporary exploration drilling pads to assess the bitumen layer. In these operations the forest floor and topsoil can be stripped off, stockpiled and replaced after drilling. As a result, many of these pads are slow to recover native forest vegetation. In this experiment we assessed if the forest floor could be left intact and if it might simply be covered during the drilling operation. Read the complete article here.
Tip #2: Use Edmonton Area and Land Trust’s new and updated educational resources including an updated copy of Alberta’s Species at Risk Guide, a butterfly identification guide, and moth identification guide.
Tip #1: Our 2016 New Year’s resolution is to highlight more photos of ecological restoration in Western Canada. Follow our new instagram account @restorewc, to share your own photos and stories from the field and tag them #CaptureRestoration