How can we restore forests removed at vacated oil drilling sites?

Project specs


Fred Van Dyke



Funding agency

Shell & ConocoPhillips




When a site is cleared in a forest for oil extraction, natural processes of forest renewal are disrupted and the site may not reforest for decades. But success in reforestation on well pads could inform the design of forest restoration strategies around the world.

Researcher Profile

Fred Van Dyke is the former Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute, and he conceived, acquired funding for and directed the research effort. He is a widely published conservation biologist and senior author of the internationally used textbook, Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications (Van Dyke and Lamb, Springer 2020).

Susan Wilderman, who coordinated field work and trained research assistants, is Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Jesse Remington High School in Candia, New Hampshire. Seth Harju, chief biostatistician and data analyst for the study, is Founder and Director of of Heron Ecological LLC, a statistical consulting service assisting scientists, resource management agencies, and research institutions.

Nine former research assistants participated in developing the publication of this research for the journal Restoration Ecology.

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