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 140,000 km2 or 21% 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 a very small area of the region. The energy sector is a major economic driver in the region as it contains 95% of Canada’s proven oil reserves. 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 trends are summarized for the OSR.
As of 2018, human footprint occupied 15.8% of the Oil Sands Region. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 7.7% of the region, followed by forestry (4.1%) and energy (2.2%) footprints. The remaining footprints each occupied < 1.0% of the OSR area.
Figure: Status of Linear Human Footprint. Density (km/km2) of linear features in the Oil Sands Region, circa 2018, overall and broken down by linear feature type. Hover over bar or legend to view density of specific linear feature type. Please note low impact seismic lines are not included in the summary of linear footprint density.