Research Highlights

How Mounds are Made Matters

Mounding is a common restoration technique designed to improve microsite conditions for planted seedlings in wetlands. There are a variety of strategies for constructing mounds, though, and how mounds are made matters. In this paper, Kim Kleinke and colleagues in the Soils and Ecohydrology team show how new mounding techniques – intact mounding and hummock transfer – result in higher soil quality than current methods of inverted mounding.


For the full article click here.

How Lincoln’s Sparrows Adapt to Chronic Noise

Noise from industrial disturbance can affect the behaviour of songbirds and other wildlife in northern Alberta. In this research, Natalie Sanchez and colleagues in the Humans/Wildlife team show of Lincoln’s sparrow have adapted their song patterns to deal with chronic noise from compressor stations.

To read the peer-reviewed article behind this research, click here.

Using satellites to capture regeneration on harvested forest areas reveals regional differences

Up-to-date monitoring of forest disturbance and recovery at large scales is a critical challenge. BERA research partners at the ABMI developed a repeatable, scalable, and adaptable workflow for capturing broad patterns in post-harvest forest regeneration using long-running satellite image archives and Google’s Earth Engine platform. Their work produced a public dataset of Alberta-wide harvest area spectral regeneration available at

For the full article click here.

Linear Disturbances Shift Boreal Peatland Plant
Communities Toward Earlier Peak Greenness

BERA researchers are using smartphone technology to understand the effects of seismic lines on peatland functioning, revealing important phenological shifts and greater CO2 uptake in disturbed areas. Read the manuscript here.

Towards Drone-Based Establishment Surveys

BERA researchers at the Canadian Forest Service and University of Calgary are teaming up to shows how drones could potentially replace ground-based seedling establishment surveys, reducing costs, increasing survey area, and avoiding trampling over restored terrain. One important step towards that process involves using drones to measure seedling height.  Read the manuscript here.

Seismic Line Geometry Affects Tree Regeneration

BERA researchers on the Vegetation Team are revealing how seismic-line geometry controls the factors affecting tree regeneration, providing knowledge that will help managers with restoration planning. Read the paper here.

Seismic Line Treatments Alter Peatland Soil Properties

Mounding – the process of using machinery to create artificial hummocks in peatlands – helps tree regeneration on seismic lines, but what other effects might they have?  BERA researchers on the Soils and Hydrology Team have uncovered alterations that might have major implications for carbon cycling. Read the manuscript here.

Open Access Software Tools for Researchers and Land Managers

Most linear-feature databases work fine for cartographic purposes but are not up to the demands of detailed research and restoration planning.  Researchers in BERA’s Remote Sensing Team tackled this problem by developing the Forest Line Mapper: a free, open-access software kit you learn more about here.

Fires Help Erase Seismic Lines in Peatlands

Seismic lines alter a host of ecosystem processes in the boreal forest, and many of those lines are in a state of arrested succession.  Restoration managers have to choose: active restoration (mounding, planting, other treatments) or passive (leave for natural)?  Researchers in BERA’s Vegetation Team are helping to understand the role of fire in this equation. Read about some of their work here.

Highlights from BERA 1

BERA is currently in it’s second phase.  If you’re interested in learning about the key outcomes from BERA Phase 1, please click here.