Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Carmen T. Agouridis

Abstract

The Appalachian Region is a rich and diverse forest ecosystem impacted by present and past mining activities. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 was enacted to resolve many of the environmental problems caused by surfacing mining, such as landslides, erosion, flooding, and poor water quality. As with many solutions, this one came with its own set of environmental problems due to compaction and the introduction of aggressive non-native grasses and shrubs altering hydrologic processes and ecosystem function. The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for re-establishing forested ecosystems on mined lands. This project evaluated the effect of FRA on throughfall by comparing 10-, 20-, and 100-year old tree plots consisting of coniferous or deciduous trees. Throughfall rates were significantly impacted by tree type and age. Coniferous trees intercepted more rainfall than deciduous ones and the older trees tended to intercept the least. Presence/absence of leaves impacted throughfall depths for deciduous trees. Throughfall was significantly impacted by storm event characteristics. Results may help guide management of forested watersheds regarding strategies to reduce water yields on mined lands.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.138

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