Melissa Petras,* Richard Ali, and Kenneth M. Klemow. 2001. MINE RECLAMATION STRATEGIES: EARLY SUCCESSES MAY HINDER LONG-TERM OUTCOMES. Contributed paper: Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting. Abstract: Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 74:xxx.
Reclamation of mine-impacted lands often involves grading the land to a relatively smooth contour, and seeding with a grass / legume mix. While reclamation specialists assume that these sites will eventually become forested, the presence of a dense meadow-like community may actually inhibit the development of a diverse forest. A study was conducted to assess the pattern of community development on two sites reclaimed in 1997. The first was smooth-graded and densely seeded with a grass-legume mix. The second was rough-graded and sparsely seeded. Vegetation development was assessed on each site in summer 2000. Our study revealed that woody species invasion occurred more rapidly on the rough-graded, herb-poor site than the more intensively graded site having higher herb cover. Therefore, intensive grading and seeding may actually inhibit subsequent forest development. The implications of these findings to the development of smart reclamation practices will be discussed.