The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative’s Science Team has just published two new Forest Reclamation Advisories.
Reforestation to Enhance Appalachian Mined Lands as Habitat for Terrestrial Wildlife:
Surface mining is widespread throughout the Appalachian coalfield, a region with extensive forests that are rich in wildlife. Game species for hunting, non-game wildlife species, and other organisms are important contributors to sustainable and productive ecosystems. Although small breaks in the forest canopy are important to wildlife diversity, most native Appalachian wildlife species require primarily forested habitats. This Forest Reclamation Advisory provides guidance on reforestation practices to provide high quality habitat for native forest wildlife on Appalachian coal mines.
Establishing Native Trees on Legacy Surface Mines
More than one million acres have been surface mined for coal in Appalachia. Today, much of this land is unmanaged, unproductive, and covered with non-native plants. Establishing productive forests on such lands will aid restoration of ecosystem services provided by forests – services such as watershed protection, water quality enhancement, carbon storage and native wildlife habitat — and will enable mined lands to produce valued products such as commercial timber. This Advisory describes practices for establishing native forest trees on lands that were surface mined for coal and reclaimed to meet legal standards, and where the mine operator no longer has any legal responsibilities. These lands often differ from their pre-mining condition with respect to topography, soils, water resource influences, and vegetation.