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Land & wildlife

Cenovus manages land use by avoiding disturbance where possible and through mitigation and restoration of land used for operations. From upfront project planning through to an asset’s retirement, we take biodiversity considerations into account and identify potential impacts so they can be avoided, minimized or mitigated to maintain healthy, functioning ecosystems.

Our biodiversity targets

Biodiversity target.
Biodiversity target.

We are demonstrating our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability with ambitious biodiversity targets, including reclaiming 3,000 decommissioned well sites between 2019 and year‑end 2025 and, within the Cold Lake caribou range, a re‑commitment that by 2030 we restore more habitat than we have used. Together, these targets demonstrate Cenovus’s continued commitment to be a leader in proactive reclamation and restoration of the landscapes in which we operate.

The 3,000 decommissioned well sites represent approximately 70% of our existing reclamation inventory, which we will be actively progressing to regulatory closure by year-end 2025. When we cease operations at a well or facility, we retire the asset in a responsible manner. Cenovus employs area-based closure (ABC) in asset retirement activities, a program‑based approach aimed to increase efficiencies in progressing sites to closure by focusing our abandonment, decommissioning and reclamation work in centralized areas to restore more land and habitat in a shorter timeframe.

Our target to restore more habitat than we have disturbed in the Cold Lake caribou range over the next decade will ensure that our efforts in this range are timely and biophysically meaningful. Habitat restoration is widely understood to be a cornerstone for caribou recovery. Site preparation, followed by tree planting, has been shown to increase the survival and growth rates of planted seedlings and reduce the likelihood of use and travel speed by wolves that prey on caribou. The Cenovus caribou habitat restoration project is the largest project of its kind in the world. The program involves restoring up to 4,000 kilometres of linear land disturbances and progressing our tree planting program. Our goal ties restoration area to the area of disturbance used for operations, referred to as a restoration ratio, which allows us to measure our progress against our activities. We believe this ambitious goal is unique among resource industries and sets Cenovus apart.  

Quick facts

  • We certified 3,981 acres of land in 2020 and have 25,538 acres under active reclamation within our portfolio.
  • As part of our Caribou Habitat Restoration Project, we’ve:
    • Treated more than 1,000 km of linear forest disturbances (seismic lines, access roads, etc.).
    • Since 2016, more than 1.4 million trees have been planted.
    • Restored more than 40% of the area included in our 2030 target of restoring more habitat than we disturb.

Find out more about our biodiversity initiatives in our 2020 Environmental, Social & Governance Report.