Program ID: Innovation Anthology #405
Program Date: 06/09/2011
Program Category: Energy, Environment, Forests, Oil Sands, Water
CONRAD Part 16: Dr. Jan Ciborowski on CFRAW
At a recent workshop on oil sands reclamation Dr. Jan Ciborowski addressed the question of sustainability.
Dr. Ciborowski is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Windsor. He’s also a principal investigator with CFRAW.
This is a research group studying the Carbon Dynamics, Food Web Stucture and Reclamation Strategies in Athabasca Oil Sands Wetlands.
DR. JAN CIBOROWSKI: Everybody has a different definition. Some of the most obvious things have very different interpretations. And part of our job is to define what sustainability is. Is one living thing in a wetland an idea of sustainable? It’s got life. Maybe that is. The agreements that the oil companies have say the landscape they leave behind has to function in the same way as what was there before. So it doesn’t mean you’re going to get the same species. You don’t get a 200 year old tree on a ten year old site. But you might have shrubs that process the same amount of carbon and provide the same amount of food. So sustainability is self maintaining and behaving in somewhat the same way as the original landscape was before they started to mine it.
Dr. Ciborowski says the test is if the newly created wetlands are behaving at the two and five year marks as a natural wetland would.
Thanks today to Syncrude
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY
I’M CHERYL CROUCHER