Oil Sands Regions:

TOTAL AREA:
29,120 km2

TOTAL Human Footprint:
6,168 km2

Region Overview

The Peace River Oil Sands Area (OSA) encompasses an area of 29,120 km2 (4%) in north central Alberta. The region overlays a large bitumen deposit of the same name. These deposits are located too deep underground to extract using surface mining and therefore can only be accessed using in situ technology. Forestry is another important industry as this region almost entirely overlaps with the Boreal Forest Natural Region. Areas in the southwest of the Peace River OSA consist of parkland vegetation, characterized by a mixture of Aspen and White Spruce groves interspersed with prairie grasslands; much of the parkland has been converted to agricultural use. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the Peace River OSA.

Status

As of 2016, human footprint occupied 21.18% of the Peace River OSA. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 13.24%, followed by forestry (4.27%) footprint and energy (2.15%) footprint. 

Human Footprint Type Area (km2) Area (%)
Total Human Footprint 6,168 21.2
Agriculture 3,855 13.2
Energy 626 2.1
Forestry 1,243 4.3
Human-created Water Bodies 50 0.2
Transportation 253 0.9
Urban/Industrial 140 0.5

FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Peace River Oil Sands Area, circa 2016.

Total Human Footprint 21.2%

Agriculture 13.2%

Energy 2.1%

Forestry 4.3%

Human-created Water Bodies 0.2%

Transportation 0.9%

Urban/Industrial 0.5%

Trend

Between 1999 and 2016, the total area of human footprint in the Peace River OSA increased by 2.53%, from 18.65% to 21.18%. This increase in human footprint was driven by the expansion of forestry footprint, which increased by 1.74%, from 2.53% to 4.27%. The remaining footprint types demonstrated increases ranging from 0.04% for human-created waterbodies to 0.34% for agriculture.

Human Footprint Type 1999 (km2) 2016 (km2) Change (km2)
Total Human Footprint 5,431 6,168 + 737
Agriculture 3,756 3,855 + 99
Energy 556 626 + 70
Forestry 737 1,243 + 507
Human-created Water Bodies 38 50 + 12
Transportation 227 253 + 26
Urban/Industrial 79 140 + 61
Human Footprint Type 1999 (%) 2016 (%) Change (%)
Total Human Footprint 18.6 21.2 + 2.5
Agriculture 12.9 13.2 + 0.3
Energy 1.9 2.1 + 0.2
Forestry 2.5 4.3 + 1.7
Human-created Water Bodies 0.1 0.2 + 0.0
Transportation 0.8 0.9 + 0.1
Urban/Industrial 0.3 0.5 + 0.2

FIGURE: Trend in the percentage area of total human footprint, and by human footprint category in the Peace River Oil Sands Area between 1999 and 2016. Click on the entries in the legend to turn human footprint categories on and off.