Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
function, keystone, mines, peatlands, policy
Theme I. Inventory, stratigraphy and conservation of mires and peatlands
Balancing peatland conservation with appropriate economic development is a significant challenge in Alberta, Canada. Wetlands are extensive in areas where the scale of industrial activity is large. This includes extraction of significant petroleum reserves in the form of oil sands. Little is known of potential cumulative impacts on peatlands, but the effects will potentially be high. This includes climate change impacts. While novel wetland restoration and construction initiatives are being developed, wetland policy and management initiatives have not kept pace with peatland loss and alteration. Peatland conservation could be enhanced through the recognition of wetlands as Alberta’s keystone ecosystem, two distinct provincial wetland zones, identification of wetland function and value, and establishment of no-net-loss policy.