Simon Landhausser - Role of plant species selection in rebuilding of resilient forest ecosystems
Resource extraction results in severe disturbance to landscapes representing a range of boreal forest ecosystems. In Canada, operators are obligated to "revegetate the disturbed land to… self-sustaining, locally common boreal forest … ." An understanding of the natural processes, relationships, and dynamics in these forest ecosystems is key to rebuilding resilient and sustainable boreal forests. In this context resilience can encompass both recovering from the mining disturbance and the capacity to recover from future natural disturbances and stresses. In this presentation I will discuss the aspect of selection and establishment of plant species in restoring diverse and productive forest ecosystems, which therefore possess properties that are likely to confer resilience. Recognizing the role of the species being reintroduced during the recovery of severely disturbed areas is critical in determining the trajectories along which reclaimed forest stands develop. As such, the autecology and life-history traits of these species and their abundance through time and space are critical to assess resistance and resiliency of these future ecosystems. In this presentation I will give examples of some of the roles plants and their traits play in the development of resistance and resiliency in reclaimed novel ecosystems emphasizing linkages among plants and ecosystem processes.