« Back

The Development of Techniques for the Use of Trees in the Reclamation of Phosphate Lands


Tree seedlings have been planted by Florida’s phosphate industry on surface-mined land for many years, however, success has been disappointing for the industry as a whole. Tree planting studies by the phosphate companies have typically lacked documentation, or have been done “in-house” and not made available to the rest of the industry. As a result, the industry continues to experience tree planting failures and individual companies must frequently replant specific sites two or three times to achieve the minimum stocking level required by the Florida Department of Natural Resources.

This study addressed the problem of reforestation on reclaimed land. Part I involved the selection of tree species for planting on specific post-mining soils (sand-clay mix, overburden, sand tailings and phosphatic clay), and Part II evaluated the feasibility of direct seeding sand pine (Pinus clausa) and slash pine (Pinus elliotii var. elliottii) on sand tailings. Funding was provided through a five-year contract with the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research (Contract Number: F.I.P.R. 80-03-001).