Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Coal mining remains an important industry in West Virginia and mining operations drastically disturb the forested landscape. After mining operations, reforesting the land provides economic and ecological benefits. In order to promote successful reforestation, the Appalachian Reforestation Initiative supports the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA). The FRA recommends creating a suitable rooting medium and ensuring that no compaction occurs. In 2005, three 2.5-ha research plots were established at the Catenary Mine in southern West Virginia. One plot was constructed with 1.2 m of brown sandstone, another with 1.5 m of brown sandstone, and the third with 1.5 m of gray sandstone. One half of each plot was compacted. Each year tree volume data and soils have been collected. Growth rates over eleven years were compared for all tree species combined, as well as for individual species: black locust, red oak, white ash, and white oak. When comparing the 1.2 m brown uncompacted plot to the compacted side, all tree species combined together, red oak, and white oak had higher growth rates at 0.62, 0.70, and 0.71 cm3/year, respectively. For the 1.5 m brown plot, growth rates were significantly higher in the compacted side for all trees combined and white oak, at 0.70 and 0.80 cm3/year, respectively. The 1.2 m brown compacted plot was compared the 1.5 m brown compacted plot and tree growth rates were higher in the 1.5 plot for all trees, red oak, white ash, and white oak at 0.70, 0.72, 0.70, and 0.80 cm3/year, respectively. Soil extractable nutrient data were found to vary widely across treatments and across all years. The pH of gray sandstone ranged from 6.5 to 8.3 on both plots over eleven years. The pH for the brown sandstone plots ranged from 4.6 to 6.6 over eleven years. Percent fines increased in all treatments in eleven years and increases ranged from 2% for the gray compacted plot to 19% in the 1.2 m brown compacted and uncompacted plots. Reclamation of mine sites can be successful when proper topsoil substitutes (such as brown sandstone) are used and left uncompacted.;Another study site was established at the Birch River Mine in Webster County, WV to assess the effects of mulch and hydroseeding treatments on the growth of twelve hardwood species on gray and brown sandstone. In 2006, a 2.5-ha plot was constructed with half 1.5 m of brown sandstone and half 1.5 m of gray sandstone. Bark mulch was applied to the center of the plot covering both brown and gray substrates and each end was hydroseeded, resulting in eight treatments. Each year tree volume data and soil samples were collected. Growth rates over nine years were compared for all trees species combined, as well as black locust, sugar maple, white oak, and white pine. The brown mulch treatments were compared to the brown non-mulch treatments and all species combined and white pine had significantly higher growth rates in the mulch treatments, at 0.78 and 1.2 cm3/year, respectively. When comparing the brown hydroseeded treatments to the non-hydroseeded treatments, all tree species combined and black locust were found to have significantly higher growth in the hydroseeded treatments at 0.72 and 0.73 cm3/year, respectively. The gray mulch treatments resulted in significant increases for all species, black locust, white oak, and white pine over the gray non-mulched treatments at 0.79, 0.70, 0.98, and 1.12 cm3/year, respectively. All tree species combined and white oak were had significantly higher growth rates at 0.65 and 1.00 cm3/year, respectively, on the gray hydroseeded treatments when compared to the gray non-hydroseeded treatments. Between the gray mulch treatments and the brown mulch treatments, no significant differences were found. This indicates that the addition of bark mulch improved gray sandstone's ability to grow trees similar to brown sandstone. Soil extractable nutrient data was found to vary widely across treatments and across years. The pH of gray sandstone plots ranged from 6.4 to 8.0 over nine years. The pH of the brown sandstone plots ranged from 6.4 to 8.1 over nine years. Percent fines were increased in all the treatments in eleven years and increases ranged from 17% for the gray plot to 27% in the gray hydroseeded plot. Amendments can improve the growth rates of trees on both brown and gray sandstone and should be used in reclamation when available. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).
Dallaire, Kara, "Evaluating Reforestation Success on Reclaimed Coal Mines in West Virginia and Determining the Release of Nutrients in Overburden Materials" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5430.