Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5306-2999

Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

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

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. John Lhotka

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Barton

Abstract

During the last century coal extraction has degraded ecosystems in Appalachia, converting forested land into other cover types that have a diminished capacity to naturally progress to later stages of succession. This projects objective was to examine two options for land-use that can assist in returning the reclaimed surface mines to forested cover types, with increased ecosystem services, and a potential for economic gain.

This project examined a biomass plantation and an American chestnut trial. In the biomass trial, greatest heights for American sycamore (12.3 m) and black locust (8.0 m) were found in the fertilizer plots. Mean individual tree biomass for American sycamore and black locust was 6.4 Kg and 5.3 Kg, respectively; no significant differences were found among treatments. In the American chestnut trial, experimental wide survival was 47.2% in 2009, dropping to 24.74% in 2017. No significant differences were found by genotype, stock type, or the interaction in 2017. Use of mined land for woody biomass plantations and locales for chestnut restoration shows potential if proper management techniques are followed. Given the vast amounts of land disrupted by mining activities in Appalachia, approaches such as these deserve further attention and additional research.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.005

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