Vegetation indicators of terrain conditions in southern Saskatchewan
Wilson, Edward Alexander
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Geotechnical engineers have been using vegetation indicators of terrain conditions for engineering purposes in southern Saskatchewan. This terrain evaluation technique was based on empirical observations and there was a need for a formal investigation of the characteristics of vegetation indicators. This project undertook this formal investigation. Documented information pertaining to vegetation-terrain relationships was consolidated from publications in botany, plant ecology, plant physiology, geobotany and geology. This information is presented to provide a basic understanding of the characteristics of vegetation indicators. Subsequently, a field study area was selected on the North Saskatchewan River near Langham, Saskatchewan, in order to study the characteristics of vegetation-terrain relationships and to assess the applicability of vegetation indicators of terrain conditions for engineer in purposes in southern Saskatchewan. Field investigations sought to describe the total physical environment of the study area. These investigations involved aerial photography using several formats, terrain evaluation, geodetic surveying, subsurface investigations, ground-water studies, climatic studies and vegetation studies. The result of the investigations was a description of the study area in terms of geomorphology, stratigraphy, ground-water regime, climate and vegetation. The correlation between vegetation and environment was then analyzed. As a result of this analysis, vegetation indicators of terrain conditions are recommended as a complimentary technique to traditional forms of evaluating the physical environment for engineering purposes in southern Saskatchewan.