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Post-Mine Reclamation of Native Upland Communities

03-122-159Final

Native upland communities are now being recognized as vital ecosystems worthy of restoration; however, scientific data on upland reclamation is lacking. This study examined soil properties that were influential in successful reclamation of native upland taxa, as well as establishment of undesirable aggressive grasses. Two field experiments were also implemented: a topsoil augmentation experiment and a site preparation experiment.

Matching moisture regimes between a reclaimed site and the targeted vegetative community was significant in determining the success of a reclamation site. Topsoiling was a successful method for transferring a viable seed bank to a reclaimed area. However, recruitment from the seed bank was more successful if the moisture regime at the reclaimed site closely matched the moisture regime from the donor site.

Aggressive grasses are problematic because they enter a site quickly, expand, and compete with perennial natives. Aggressive grasses grew successfully in a wide range of soil conditions but were frequently associated with a higher soil pH and higher soil fertility. Soil fertility and soil moisture were important factors in influencing aggressive grasses; however, there was roughly an equal chance that aggressive grasses would establish on a random basis irrespective of soil and site conditions.