HARDWOOD REFORESTATION ON RECLAIMED MINELANDS IN THE EASTERN INTERIOR REGION: INTERACTIONS OF NURSERY STOCKTYPE, HERBICIDE, AND TREE SHELTERS ON RECLAMATION SUCCESS
thesisposted on 17.01.2019, 14:21 by Weston M. Schempf
Reclamation of surface mined lands is required under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Reforestation of mined lands is challenging due to harsh conditions such as soil compaction, herbaceous competition, and animal browse. We investigated the field performance of black walnut (Juglans nigra), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), and swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) planted on two mine reclamation sites and evaluated the interactions of nursery stocktypes (container and bareroot), herbicide application, and tree shelters. Survival averaged 80% across all species and stocktypes after two years. Container stocktype had greater relative height and diameter growth, whereas bareroot had greater total height and diameter growth likely due to initial stocktype differences. Shelter use increased height growth and reduced diameter growth across both stocktypes. Swamp white oak (Q. rubra) had high survival and field performance regardless of silvicultural treatment, whereas the two other species showed strong early regeneration responses to silvicultural treatments. Container seedlings showed promise as an alternative to bareroot seedlings to promote survival and early growth on mine reclamation sites. Future research should be on continued development of container stocktypes to provide an economically feasible mine reclamation option for land managers.