Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. John Lhotka

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Barton


Survival, growth and biomass accumulation of 19 year-old trees planted on an Appalachian surface mine site were evaluated to determine the effect of spoil grading and surface amendment treatments. Three spoil grading treatments (loose-dump, strike-off and graded control) were established to create a range of operationally feasible spoil compaction capable of impacting tree establishment and growth. Likewise, three surface amendment treatments (straw/manure mulch, hardwood bark mulch and control) were applied to determine their effects on tree development. Trees grown under low-compaction grading treatment levels (strike-off and loose-dump) consistently outperformed trees planted in a high-compaction control treatment. Loose-dump preparation resulted in higher survival for five of six tree species and greater biomass in three species for which this metric was estimated. Strike-off preparation resulted in higher diameter at breast height (DBH) values. The addition of straw/manure surface amendment increased biomass for hardwood species for which this value was estimated.

Volunteer woody vegetation growing in the same experimental plots was measured and characterized by species. Loose-dump plots exhibited highest overall volunteer stem and native stem density and compacted control plots had lowest volunteer stem density and lowest proportion of native stems. Strike-off plots exhibited intermediate values for both of these measures.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)