Reclaimed mine site revegetation has two main goals : erosion control and also returning the sites to a more natural appearance. However, in Canadian forest regions, the conditions which favor the reconstruction of a tree cover on mine wastes are still to be studied. In particular in waste rock slopes where wind exposure, erosion and quick drainage can have negative consequences on tree development. In these waste rock slopes, it becomes necessary to determine which revegetation conditions favor an adequate root development. Root systems influence tree growth by providing water and nutrients. In slopes especially, they also ensure mechanical stability of trees and soils.
This Ph.D. project aims at studying the influence of different plantation designs on deep tree root development on the slopes of mine waste rocks.
This research participates in the progressive revegetation of the Canadian Malartic mine site belonging to OsiskoMining Corporation. Thus, three experimental plantations were established to study the effects of: i) soil cover thickness and tree species; ii) tree spacing and herbaceous hydroseeding; iii) tree plantation material and soil type on root development.
Root development is a poorly studied and examined subject in mine site revegetation. By considering the factors which influence tree root morphology, this study will help to define the conditions allowing the sustainable implantation of a tree cover on mine waste rock slopes.