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Dr. Katherine Stewart--Public Talk

Wednesday Sep 25 2019 7:00 pm, Saskatoon, Travel Alcove

Join Dr. Katherine Stewart for "Letting Nature Lead the Way: Restoring Arctic and Alpine Ecosystems." Presented by the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources Department of Soil Science for Global Biotech Week 2019.

Industrial activities in remote arctic and alpine environments can result in the loss of native vegetation, as well as, contaminated and unstable soils. Re-establishment of key ecosystem processes is essential in ensuring long-term ecosystem health and recovery. Establishing pre-disturbance plant-soil assemblages and promoting recovery of key ecosystem functions in remote disturbed ecosystems poses many challenges. Seeding and fertilization are commonly used in many revegetation efforts. However, the ecological and economic feasibility of this approach in arctic and alpine environments is limited due to the lack of commercial seed stocks for native tundra and alpine vegetation and isolated site locations. Development of restoration techniques using on-site materials, as such biological soil crusts, and surface organic layers can promote re-establishment of vegetative cover and provide sources of local propagules. Active restoration using locally harvested materials can also promote soil stabilization and nutrient cycling. Ultimately, our ability to restore arctic and alpine environments is reliant upon developing a better understanding of the surface and belowground processes occurring in these ecosystems.

Dr. Katherine Stewart is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Soil Science. As an expert in northern plant ecology and soil science, Dr. Stewart conducts research investigating the restoration of plant communities and nutrient cycling processes in northern ecosystems. Dr. Stewart works with several industrial partners in northern Canada to develop soil amendments and identify local native plant species that can restore the fertility of impacted ecosystems and facilitate plant community development of desired seral stages.