Program ID: Innovation Anthology #460
Program Date: 02/28/2012
Program Category: Conservation, Energy, Environment, Forests, Oil Sands, Water, Women in Science
CONRAD 2012.6: U Factor Foundation of Boreal Hydrology Reclamation
Traditional concepts about hydrology are based on precipitation and water running downhill to lakes or rivers.
But things are more complex on the boreal plain. As scientists Kevin Devito and Carl Mendoza discovered, boreal fens, bogs and peatlands act more as a big sponge.
And as reclamation expert Clara Qualizza explains, one has to appreciate the importance of what’s called the “U-Factor”.
CLARA QUALIZZA: The U-Factor. U means uplift. And when you look at a boreal landscape, it’s a mixture of forest lands and wetlands. And it turns out that the research suggests that aspen uplands need wetlands in their immediate proximity, because there’s an aspen root pipeline that goes from the forest lands down into the wetlands. Through dry periods, the aspen through their roots that extend into wetland areas or just into the forest land, they pull water - there’s uplift of water. So water goes uphill from the wetland sometimes into the forest land. And that’s what sustains that system.
The U-Factor is one of the new principals that Clara Qualizza and the scientific team are incorporating into a manual for reclaiming boreal ecosystems.
Thanks today to SYNCRUDE
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY
I’M CHERYL CROUCHER