First-year survival and growth of three species assemblages planted on reclaimed mine land as affected by three levels of silvicultural intensityThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Surface mined land in the Appalachian coal-producing region have been found to exhibit growing conditions that are unfavorable for the establishment of productive forests including dense ground covers, compacted soil materials, and unfavorable soil chemical properties. To address these concerns, a 3 x 3 x 3 factor random complete block experiment was used to investigate the survival and height growth differences associated with three species assemblages across three levels of silvicultural intensity at three separate study sites. Hardwood survival was superior to both of the other species groups (69 percent versus 42 and 50 percent for white pine and hybrid poplar, respectively). Hybrid poplar grew far more in height (126.6 cm) over 1 year than either of the other species. Additionally, sites with sandstone-derived soils were found to have superior survival and growth compared to soils derived from shale or siltstone overburden. Hybrid poplar appears to have the greatest potential to revert reclaimed mine land to forest after it has already been reclaimed to grass cover.