Impacts of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions from oil sands operations on soils and vegetation
In an effort to better understand the impacts of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from oil sands development on soils and vegetation, a laboratory experiment was designed, which mimicked the natural and reclaimed boreal forest environment found in the Fort McMurray area. The primary objective of this research was to examine the effects of various types and concentrations of NOx under a controlled laboratory study, and to provide recommendations and management strategies with respect to NOx deposition management. Findings indicated that, for some vegetation types, significant relationships exist between NOx treatment and vegetation height, biomass, and percent total nitrogen responses. Furthermore, some soil chemical parameters exhibited significant differences due to treatment and or soil depth, and some appeared to serve as better indicators of NOx deposition. Recommendations are made with respect to future research considerations and management strategies for NOx emissions including consideration of both eutrophication and acidification potential.