Managing Invasive Exotic Plant Species on Legacy Mine Lands


More than 2 million acres have been surface mined in the Appalachians (Zipper et al. 2011; OSMRE). Today, many mining firms are attempting to establish functional forests as a post-mining land use. However, many of the lands that were surface-mined for coal and reclaimed to meet legal standards in the past do not support thriving forest ecosystems. These lands, referred to as “legacy” surface mines (Burger et al. 2013), are often dominated by invasive exotic plant species (IES) which can interfere with successful reforestation (Zipper et al. 2011b). This advisory explains the issues related to IES plants on legacy mine sites. It also presents guidance on methods to combat and control the spread of IES to ensure successful reforestation. Finally, it describes characteristics of some exotic invasive plant species that are problematic on mine sites (see Appendix).