Long-term ecological and geomorphological investigations in the alpine tundra of the Mackenzie Mountains, NWT
Principal Investigator: Kershaw, G. Peter (38)
Licence Number: 15089
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Jun 15, 2012
Project Team: G Peter Kershaw (PI, University of Alberta)

Objective(s): To determine the status of permafrost landforms; to determine long-term recovery after abandonment of the CANOL No. 1 project, including oil spills and gravel pits; and to determine the status of treeline.

Project Description: The objectives of this research are: 1) to determine the status of permafrost landforms. Since 1990, automated microclimate stations powered by solar cells have been operated in the study area. One station is located at each of five permafrost landforms called palsas (low peat covered mounds with permafrost cores). The stations keep a record of permafrost and near-surface temperatures. Depth of thaw is measured at several hundred permanent probing sites using a metal probe to penetrate through the thawed soil to the permafrost table; 2) to determine long-term recovery after abandonment of the CANOL No. 1 project, including oil spills and gravel pits. Oil spills and gravel pits have been naturally recovering since the early 1940’s. Plant species and their characteristics on these disturbances have been monitored since the late 1970’s; and, 3) to determine the status of treeline. Tree cores are taken to determine the age of trees and to reconstruct past climate. Surveys are conducted to locate and measure seedlings to assess whether new trees are growing.

This project has been in a monitoring mode with one publication in 2011. The principal investigator did participate in a community symposium in Yellowknife, gave a CBC radio interview, and presented a public lecture in early March 2006. His web site will also provide access to publications and reports as they become available.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 1, 2012 to August 31, 2012.