OFFICE of SURFACE MINING
RECLAMATION and ENFORCEMENT

U.S. Department of the Interior

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APPALACHIAN REGIONAL REFORESTATION INITIATIVE


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FORESTRY RECLAMATION APPROACH

ARRI Advocates Using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) to Reclaim Coal Mined Lands

5 Steps of the FRA:

  1. Create a suitable rooting medium for good tree growth that is no less than 4 feet deep and comprised of topsoil, weathered sandstone, and/or the best available material

  2. Loosely grade the topsoil or topsoil substitutes established in step one to create a non-compacted growth medium

  3. Use ground covers that are compatible with growing trees

  4. Plant two types of trees – 1) early succession species for wildlife and soil stability, and 2) commercially valuable crop trees

  5. Use proper tree planting techniques

Pictured are cross sections of trees, all the same age and cut the same distance from the ground.  The bottom right tree grew in a natural Appalachian forest that was never mined. 

The bottom left tree grew on a former mine site where the soil was heavily compacted using the traditional reclamation techniques advocated for the last 30 years. 

The largest section is from a tree planted using the FRA. When proper planting techniques are used, tree growth can be increased exponentially.

  These cross sections of trees are all the same age and were cut the same distance from the ground.  At bottom right is a section from a natural forest that’s never been mined.  At bottom left is a section from a reclaimed mine site where the soil was packed down and compacted the way everyone thought it should be for the last 30 years.  At top is a section from a tree grown on reclaimed mine land where the soil was packed loosely instead of compacted.  With proper planting techniques and care, the growth of trees can be doubled over what they would experience naturally.
17 year old White pines

The FRA technique described above is based on the forestry research and scientific studies of several leading universities.  Current Federal and State regulations support the FRA technique for establishing forests as a postmining land use. The ARRI Core Team has determined that when FRA is implemented, bond releases are not unnecessarily delayed.  For further information on how to implement FRA in your State, view the State Regulatory Authority Guidance Documents.

Click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

Pictured above are research plots where ARRI foresters and Academics have studied the Forestry Reclamation Approach.

To learn more about the Forestry Reclamation Approach read our Forest Reclamation Advisories, published by the ARRI Science Team.

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Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 7/1/13

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