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Forest Productivity and Commercial Value of Pre-Law Reclaimed Mined Land in the Eastern United States

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of mining practices used prior to the passage of the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on forest productivity and commercial value of reclaimed forest sites. Forest productivity and value of 14 mined and 8 nonmined sites throughout the eastern and midwestern coalfield regions were compared. Forest productivity of pre-SMCRA mined sites was equal to or greater than that of nonmined forests, ranging between 3.3 m3ha-1yr-1 and 12.1 m3ha-1yr-1. Management activities such as planting pine and valuable hardwood species increased the stumpage value of forests on reclaimed mine sites. Rotation-age stumpage values on mined study sites ranged between $3,064 ha-1 and $19,528 ha-1 and were commonly greater than stumpage values on nonmined reference sites. Current law requires that mined land be restored to capability levels found prior to mining. These results should provide a benchmark for reforestation success, potential forest productivity, and timber value for current reclamation activities.

Keywords: Reforestation; forest site quality; reclamation; timber value

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Department of Forestry (0324), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 228 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA, 24061,

Publication date: September 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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