Coal Mine Reclamation for Reforestation

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Over-compaction of soil/spoil during reclamation has severely limited tree growth on reclaimed land. A ten-year investigation conducted by the University of Kentucky at a surface coal mine monitored changes in soil/spoil physical characteristics that affect tree growth for various reclamation methods. Data collected during the study correlated well with tree survival and growth. Procedures were developed for handling soil/spoil during reclamation to minimize compaction in the replaced growing media to increase the potential for reforestation success.

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Paul Conrad is a professor of Mining Engineering at Montana Tech with over 35 years of engineering experience. He has extensive experience in permitting and reclamation and design of environmental controls. Paul holds BS and MS degrees in Mining Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Mining Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania. Paul’s research work at the University of Kentucky was in reforestation of reclaimed surface mine sites in the Appalachian Mountain coal fields.