Effect of grading technique on forest productivity of high-value tree species in reforested surface mine lands

In 1997, the University of Kentucky began research on the Starfire Mine in Perry County, Kentucky in order to test the effects of surface grading technique and organic soil amendment on both soil formation and the survival and growth of trees on surface mine sites. Three cells each of highly compacted, minimally compacted and non-compacted material were planted with seven tree species and subjected to various soil amendment treatments. In the current study, investigators will carry out an inventory of the stands, which have now reached canopy closure. The investigators will also measure chemical and physical properties of soil in the research cells in order to evaluate the effects of the various treatments on soil formation, which is important for the productivity of such sites. Data collected during this study will allow the investigators to evaluate the growth of trees on surface mines under the various treatments and will therefore assist in the development of reforestation methods capable of returning high-value tree species to mined lands.

John M. Lhotka, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Silviculture
(859) 257-9701 | John.Lhotka@uky.edu | 210 T.P. Cooper Building

Wes Dement – Graduate Student