TALKING TO TREES: A DENDROCHRONOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION EFFECTS OF ATHABASCA BITUMEN MINING DOWNWIND FROM THE INDUSTRY
Kershaw, Geoffrey G.L.
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Bitumen mining in Alberta is considered one of the largest economic vehicles in Canada, but the assessment of this industry’s environmental impacts is incomplete. The region downwind of this pollution source is occupied by an Indigenous population concerned for the health and viability of their territory. This thesis presents dendrochronology results of principal component and regression analysis documenting white spruce (Picea glauca) growth suppression associated with bitumen mining activity. The growth suppression is most pronounced close to the disturbance and in the most recent rings. With a desire to share these results with the Indigenous peoples whose traditional territory overlaps this study’s transect, I engaged in relationship building and knowledge sharing activities beyond the scope of my scientific analysis. This thesis presents both dendrochronology results documenting tree growth suppression associated with bitumen mining activity and reflections on the relational ethics of conducting research-relevant activity on Indigenous lands in Canada.