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Thinning Response of a White Pine Stand on a Reclaimed Surface Mine in Southwestern Virginia

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White pine (Pinus strobus L.) is planted extensively following reclamation of surface-mined land in the eastern coalfields. Little information exists on the productive potential of forests growing on reclaimed mined land and the response of these forests to intermediate stand treatments such as thinning. A thinning study was established in a 17-year-old white pine stand growing on a reclaimed surface mine in Wise County in southwest Virginia. A random complete block design was used to evaluate the growth response 9 growing seasons after thinning, when the stand was 26 years old. Stand parameters were projected to age 30 using a stand table projection. Site index of the stand was found to be 105 ft at a base age of 50 years. Thinning increased the diameter growth of the residual trees to 0.3 in. year−1 compared with 0.2 in. year−1 for the unthinned treatment; however, at age 26, there was no difference in volume or value per acre. When projected to age 30, the unthinned treatment had a volume of 6,530 ft3 ac−1 but was only worth $3,564 ac−1, whereas the thinned treatment was projected to have 6,654 ft3 ac−1, which was worth $4,559 ac−1 due to a larger percentage of the volume in sawtimber size classes. These results indicate that commercial forestry is a viable alternative for reclamation of surface-mined lands and that stands growing on reclaimed mined land can respond well to intermediate stand treatments.
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Keywords: productivity; reclamation; thinning; volume growth; white pine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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