Julie Keller, Ryan Klemish, Robert Helfrick, Jennifer DiGerardo, Thomas Tonkin, and Kenneth M. Klemow. 2004. TREE INVASION ON RECLAIMED STRIP MINES: REEVALUATING INHIBITION. Contributed poster: Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting. Abstract: Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 77:136.
Reclamation of mine-impacted lands often involves grading the land to a relatively smooth contour, and seeding with a grass / legume mix. Preliminary research conducted out of our lab suggested that dense ground cover produced as a result of a successful seeding program may inhibit subsequent woody plant colonization on reclaimed mine sites. As a result, succession to a more native forested ecosystem may be slowed. The purpose of this study was to expand the number of sites examined to determine whether the findings of the previous studies held for other sites. Our findings indicate that tree species that colonize via seed dispersal and seed germination are indeed rare on reclaimed sites with dense ground cover. However, some colonization was noted on dense-groundcover sites by species (particularly black locust) having vegetative reproduction as the primary mode of reproduction. Thus, current reclamation schemes may not inhibit woody colonization, but apparently do restrict the diversity of woody species able to colonize successfully reclaimed sites.