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Title: Evaluating reforestation success on a surface mine in eastern Kentucky

Author: Cotton, Claudia; Barton, Christopher; Lhotka, John; Angel, Patrick N.; Graves, Donald;

Date: 2012

Source: In: Haase, D. L.; Pinto, J. R.; Riley, L. E., tech. coords. National Proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations - 2011. Proc. RMRS-P-68. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 16-23.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Reclamation through reforestation is becoming more common in Kentucky as studies uncover what treatments are most effective for successful tree establishment. “Success” is defined by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in terms of height and survival percentage of outplanted and naturally regenerated species. While this definition of success provides a measure of site occupancy, it does not produce an adequate method for characterizing the quality of the reforested mine land as compared to the natural landscape. In response to this, a method of site evaluation was developed for two high-value hardwoods, white oak (Quercus alba L.) and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.). Tree growth data were gathered from 80 even-aged, naturally regenerated reference stands located in the eastern Kentucky coal fields. For each species, eight stands for each of five age classes were sampled (5, 10, 20, 40, and 80). Tree height and diameter measurements taken from reforestation plots planted on reclaimed mined land in eastern Kentucky were compared to the reference sites. Loose-dumped and, in some instances, strike-off reclamation produced tree growth that was somewhat similar to what was found in the natural stands of eastern Kentucky, whereas conventional reclamation techniques largely inhibited tree growth. Yellow-poplar and white oaks grown on mine soils were shorter but larger in diameter than what was found in the reference stands. Mulch was a necessary component for the establishment and growth of both species on mined land.

Keywords: site quality, white oak, yellow-poplar, reforestation, reclamation

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Cotton, Claudia; Barton, Christopher; Lhotka, John; Angel, Patrick N.; Graves, Donald. 2012. Evaluating reforestation success on a surface mine in eastern Kentucky. In: Haase, D. L.; Pinto, J. R.; Riley, L. E., tech. coords. National Proceedings: Forest and Conservation Nursery Associations - 2011. Proc. RMRS-P-68. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 16-23.

 


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