Episode 38 – Leaving Bruderheim

Dustin Bajer asks whether we have a responsibility to help local species adapt to climate change by helping them migrate.

Dustin Bajer and Scott Nielsen look at a map of Alberta in Scotts office
Dustin Bajer and Scott Nielsen look at a map of Alberta in Scotts office

We spoke to Scott Nielsen, a professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. He supervised a project testing assisted migration of two plant species whose last Albertan refuge is in the sand dunes of Bruderheim, just northeast of Edmonton. The two plants they focused on were the northern blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis) and long-leaved bluet (Houstonia longifolia).

Jennine Pedersen worked on the project, and her masters thesis covers the results of these experiments.

A Northern blazing star in bloom in the Bruderheim area, with a butterfly alighted on one bloom
A Northern blazing star in bloom in the Bruderheim area [Photo: Scott Nielsen]

A series of cages over small plants in a wooded, sandy area
Northern blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis) translocation site established in 2013, ~110 km north of Fort McMurray near McClelland Lake, Alberta (from Jennine Pedersen’s paper)

Maps comparing habitat for Northern blazing stars in the 2020s and 2080s, from Scott Nielsen.

Long-leaved bluets [Photo: Scott Nielsen]
Long-leaved bluets [Photo: Scott Nielsen]
Map of Alberta indicating the geographical locations of long-leaved bluet translocation sites [from Jennine Pedersen's paper]
Map of Alberta indicating the geographical locations of long-leaved bluet translocation sites [from Jennine Pedersen’s paper]

This episode is made possible by support from Taproot Edmonton and the Edmonton Historical Board.

We also gave shout-outs in the episode to Rural Routes to Climate Solutions and the Common Ground Podcast.

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