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Land Reclamation 

Alberta's TarsandsThe term "land reclamation" means just what it says.  It is a method used to return disturbed land to a state where it is useful once again.  We use the land in many ways in order to provide us with the materials we need in our everyday lives.  Industries use land to extract natural resources, to build processing plants and manufacture things that people consume.  Farmers and ranchers clear, plow, seed and fertilize the land to grow food and raise animals.  Foresters harvest trees and plant new ones.  We use the land for building homes and businesses and for recreational purposes.  Without reclamation, the land would be left damaged and incapable of supporting other uses such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and wildlife habitat.

Land reclamation helps us to return the land to a state where, at a minimum it is at least as capable of supporting the same kinds of land uses as before the disturbance.  To reclaim land we must know what it was originally like -- its soil and vegetation types and characteristics, what changes have been made to it and then consider whether it should be reclaimed to its original purpose or used for something else.

Reprinted from Focus On Land Reclamation  (1999) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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