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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Evaluation of Techniques to Improve White Pine Establishment on an Appalachian Minesoil


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 5, p. 869-873
    Received: Sept 19, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. John L. Torbert *,
  2. James A. Burger and
  3. Timothy Probert
  1. Pocahontas Land Corp., Bluefield WV 24071.



Several reclamation-reforestation techniques were studied on a reclaimed surface mine in southern West Virginia to develop practical guidelines for the establishment of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) forests interplanted with black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia L.). The study was designed to investigate (i) two herbaceous ground cover mixes (a conventional erosion control cover and a tree-compatible reforestation cover); (ii) the effectiveness of establishing white pine and black locust by direct seeding versus hand-planting; and (iii) the effect of fertilizing white pine with a fertilizer tablet. The study was established on a 40% slope with a minesoil derived primarily from an acidic (pH 4.8), oxidized sandstone. With an experimental variance from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, final surface grading was minimized to avoid compaction. The reforestation ground cover was sparser than the conventional cover during the first year and denser after 5 yr, but the difference was not statistically significant and did not affect tree establishment. Although some white pines were established by direct seeding (2 kg/ha), their distribution was irregular. Black locusts were readily established by direct seeding (0.5 kg/ha), but the number of trees established was excessive and interfered with the growth of planted pine. Overall, growth of planted pine was very good, and fertilizer tablets did not result in significantly larger pines after 5 yr. Based on results from this study, the most practical way to establish a productive white pine-black locust plantation is to plant pine seedlings and interplant or spot-seed locusts between pines.

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