TOTAL Human Footprint:
The Oil Sands Region (OSR) is the aggregate of three recognized administrative units—the Athabasca, Cold Lake, and Peace River Oil Sands Areas—that together represent 21% (or approximately 140,000 km2) of the province’s land area. This region almost entirely overlays the Boreal Forest Natural Region which overlaps 97% of the landbase; the Parkland, Foothills, and Canadian Shield Natural Regions cover very small areas. The energy sector is a major economic driver in the region as it contains 95% of Canada’s proven oil reserves. But energy development is not the only land-use activity. This area also has a robust forest industry with much of the region managed for timber production. The conventional natural gas industry has also developed alongside the oil sands industry, while agriculture is the dominant land use in some parts. Managing the cumulative effects of all land-use activities is a key management challenge in the OSR. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the OSR.
As of 2016, human footprint occupied 15.48% of the Oil Sands Region. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 7.67% of the region, followed by forestry (3.75%) and energy (2.46%) footprints.
|Human Footprint Type||Area (km2)||Area (%)|
|Total Human Footprint||21,705||15.5|
|Human-created Water Bodies||140||0.1|
FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Oil Sands Region, circa 2016.