Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #400
Program Date: 05/19/2011
Program Category: Conservation, Environment, Forests, Oil Sands, Women in Science

CONRAD Part 14: Dr. Sylvie Quideau Researches Soil Biogeochemistry

Biogeochemistry looks at the distribution and cycling of elements within the soil.

It’s an important field of research for people who want to restore forests to sites mined for bitumen.

Dr. Sylvie Quideau is a professor in the Department of Renewal Resources at the University of Alberta.

As she explained at a recent oil sands reclamation workshop, rebuilding the soil is a long and complex process.

DR. SYLVIE QUIDEAU: So what we are trying to do in my research group is we are looking at reconstructing soils that are going to be evolving so that somewhere down the road, maybe 50, 100 years down the road, they are going to be able to sustain forests. So what we are studying is all of the soil functions. Because we can’t reconstruct soils the way they were prior to disturbance. We can’t do that. But what we are doing is to restore the way these soils are functioning. And the biogeochemical cycling in these soils is very critical to their functioning.

Dr. Quideau says one of the challenges reclamation scientists face is predicting the trajectory of soil evolution and function over time.

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