Novel Techniques for Restoring Shortleaf Pine and Shortleaf Pine-Hardwood Ecosystems on Reclaimed Mine Sites

The Cumberland Plateau in the westernmost part of the Appalachian Mountains, is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species and is considered the largest forested plateau in the world. Historically, the forests of the Cumberland Plateau included loblolly-shortleaf pine, oak-hickory, and oak-shortleaf pine. One major reason for land cover change and ecosystem degradation in the Cumberland Plateau has been surface mining for coal. The focus of this project is to: 1) demonstrate novel silvicultural techniques for establishing and enhancing of shortleaf pine and shortleaf pine-oak ecosystems on reclaimed mine sites on privately owned lands in northcentral Alabama; 2) remove invasive species and establish native understory species to enhance wildlife habitat in early-rotation pine monocultures; 3) protect the water quality and channel integrity of streams and restore riparian forests impacted by invasive species and past mining practices; 4) demonstrate and assess soil management systems that incorporate organic matters that improve soil health for shortleaf pine and shortleaf pine-oak ecosystems restoration on reclaimed mine sites; and 5) extend technical information to resource managers and landowners by hosting onsite field day events, distributing social media instructional videos, publications, lectures, and training events for regional extension personnel.

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Collaborators: Joshua Granger (MSU), Krishna Poudel (MSU)
Funding: National Fish and Wildlife Federation