The Suncor Boreal Habitat Replacement Project 2004-2007
Cedar Chittenden, Archie Landals, and Jan Young
Suncor Energy is one of many oil sands mining operations in the Ft. McMurray region of Alberta. Suncor recognizes that mining operations have a significant impact on the terrestrial landscape. During the pre-mining, mining and early reclamation phases, disturbed lands do not have the capacity to support mammals or birds and thus cause a loss or displacement of wildlife. The cumulative effect of the mines along with associated developments such as roads, power lines and pipelines is resulting in the local boreal habitat becoming fragmented and losing ecological value. After reclamation is complete, the landscape is dramatically different in composition, with as much as 80% of previously existing wetlands (bogs, fens) being replaced by forest. Since these wetlands require hundreds of years and complex hydrology to form, it is unlikely that the landscape will regain its natural capacity.
As part of their commitment to sustainability, Suncor made the decision to help protect intact boreal forest and wetlands to ensure that the larger boreal forest ecosystem remains intact and that biodiversity is preserved.