TOTAL Human Footprint:
The Athabasca Oil Sands Area (OSA) encompasses an area of 93,259 km2 (14%) in northeastern Alberta. This region is situated in the Boreal Forest Natural Region, which is characterized by a mosaic of upland forests composed of Trembling Aspen, White Spruce, and Jack Pine, and lowland forests composed of Black Spruce, Larch, and open wetlands. Multiple ice ages have created a flattened and rolling landscape dotted with numerous shallow lakes and wetlands connected by meandering streams, which largely feed into the Athabasca River system. The Athabasca OSA hosts the largest known deposit of crude bitumen in the world; as a result, the energy industry dominates the economy. However, conventional oil and gas development, forestry, and hunting and trapping also have important roles. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the Athabasca OSA.
As of 2016, human footprint occupied 8.67% of the Athabasca OSA. Forestry was the dominant human footprint, covering 4.15% of the region followed by energy footprint, which covered 2.53%. The remaining footprint types each covered < 1% of the OSA.
|Human Footprint Type||Area (km2)||Area (%)|
|Total Human Footprint||8,086||8.7|
|Human-created Water Bodies||65||0.1|
FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Athabasca Oil Sands Area, circa 2016.