Survival of Three Tree Species on Old Reclaimed Surface Mines in Ohio
- J. D. Zeleznik and
- J. G. Skousen *
Early studies of mine reclamation emphasized trees for revegetating minesoils. Scientists of the USDA Forest Service transplanted four tree species in 1946 into leveled or unleveled overburden near Georgetown, OH, and into unleveled overburden near Dundee, OH. Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) had good initial survival on both sites but died in later years due to locust borers (Megacyllene robiniae). Survival and growth of remaining white ash (Fraxinus americana L.), white pine (Pinus strobus L.), and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) were determined and soil properties examined on both sites in 1992. Minesoil bulk density in Georgetown leveled areas was similar (1.1 to 1.2 Mg/m3) to unleveled areas in 1992. Minesoil pH was 7.7 and no nutrient deficiencies were found. Bulk density at Dundee was 1.1 Mg/m3 and minesoil pH was 4.2 with high exchangeable acidity, Al, and Fe concentrations. White ash had the best survival after 46 yr, averaging 43% in both leveling treatments at Georgetown and 33% at Dundee. White pine survival averaged 22% at Georgetown and 14% at Dundee. Yellow-poplar had poor survival (3%) on Georgetown leveled areas, 21% survival on Georgetown unleveled areas, and 17% survival at Dundee. White pine and yellow-poplar trees were 4 to 6 m shorter on Georgetown leveled areas vs. unleveled areas. White ash height was similar between leveling treatments and no height differences were seen for any species between Georgetown unleveled and Dundee. Volume for yellow-poplar ranged from 39 m3/ha on the Georgetown leveled area to 350 m3/ha on unleveled areas. Volumes roughly paralleled survival for white pine and yellow-poplar. Thirteen volunteer tree species were identified and they averaged 20% total tree basal area across the three areas. Maple (Acer sp.) and elm (Ulmus sp.) were two common volunteer trees. After 46 yr, these areas support a closed canopy of commercially valuable trees, providing soil stabilization, potential economic returns, and wildlife habitat. Eastern U.S. surface mine reclamation should emphasize tree planting and forests as postmining land uses. White ash is recommended on leveled or unleveled sites with alkaline or acidic minesoils.
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