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Forests 2017, 8(10), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8100375

Establishing Pine Monocultures and Mixed Pine-Hardwood Stands on Reclaimed Surface Mined Land in Eastern Kentucky: Implications for Forest Resilience in a Changing Climate

1
Department of Environment and Ecology, University of North Carolina, 3305 Venable Hall Campus Box 3275, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
2
Department of Forestry, University of Kentucky, 218 T. P. Cooper Bldg, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
3
Green Forests Work, 6071 N. SR 9, Hope, IN 47246, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seedling Production and Field Performance of Seedlings)
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Abstract

Surface mining and mine reclamation practices have caused significant forest loss and forest fragmentation in Appalachia. Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) is threatened by a variety of stresses, including diseases, pests, poor management, altered fire regimes, and climate change, and the species is the subject of a widescale restoration effort. Surface mines may present opportunity for shortleaf pine restoration; however, the survival and growth of shortleaf pine on these harsh sites has not been critically evaluated. This paper presents first-year survival and growth of native shortleaf pine planted on a reclaimed surface mine, compared to non-native loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), which has been highly successful in previous mined land reclamation plantings. Pine monoculture plots are also compared to pine-hardwood polyculture plots to evaluate effects of planting mix on tree growth and survival, as well as soil health. Initial survival of shortleaf pine is low (42%), but height growth is similar to that of loblolly pine. No differences in survival or growth were observed between monoculture and polyculture treatments. Additional surveys in coming years will address longer-term growth and survival patterns of these species, as well as changes to relevant soil health endpoints, such as soil carbon. View Full-Text
Keywords: reforestation; shortleaf pine; restoration ecology; mine reclamation; Appalachia; loblolly pine reforestation; shortleaf pine; restoration ecology; mine reclamation; Appalachia; loblolly pine
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Bell, G.; Sena, K.L.; Barton, C.D.; French, M. Establishing Pine Monocultures and Mixed Pine-Hardwood Stands on Reclaimed Surface Mined Land in Eastern Kentucky: Implications for Forest Resilience in a Changing Climate. Forests 2017, 8, 375.

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