Selecting Materials for Mine Soil Construction When Establishing Forests On Appalachian Mine Sites

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Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative

The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for reclaiming coal-mined land to forest (FRA Advisory #2, Burger and others 2005). The FRA is based on research, knowledge, and experience of forest soil scientists and reclamation practitioners. Forest Reclamation Advisories are guidance documents that describe state-of-the-science procedures for mined land reforestation (see The FRA’s first step is: “create a suitable rooting medium for good tree growth that is no less than 4 feet deep and comprised of topsoil, weathered sandstone and/or the best available material.” This Advisory provides guidance on how to execute step 1 of the FRA. Selection and placement of suitable growth media are critical for successful reforestation on surface mines. Constructing mine soils using suitable materials enhances and accelerates development of diverse forest ecosystems. This Advisory is intended for mining operators seeking to re-establish native forest as a postmining land use with pre-mining capability on coal surface mines.