Reclaiming Alberta's oil sands landscape has many challenges including designing and engineering totally new landscapes, as well as developing unique plant establishment regimes. Fens are a particular concern as no one has attempted to create minerogenous peat-forming wetlands. Key to the success of these peat-forming wetlands is the establishment of a ground layer of bryophytes. We surveyed Syncrude's 17 ha constructed wetland (Sandhill Fen) two years after wet-up for the occurrence of bryophytes, none of which were purposefully introduced. Twenty-one species, including 15 species of natural rich fens were found, along with five ruderal species. Species patterning was framed along a species richness gradient, suggesting that some plots were better than others for establishment. Spatial patterning of the species-rich plots was scattered within the fen with no discernible pattern. By far the most prevalent fen species was Ptychostomum pseudotriquetrum. Seasonally submerged sites had no bryophyte establishment. Here we demonstrate that given a suitable substrate and environmental conditions, bryophytes can establish from indigenous sources and at present, after two growing seasons, numerous key species are present, but not in large abundances.
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Vol. 118 • No. 2