Soil biochemical properties in brown and gray mine soils with and without hydroseeding
Surface coal mining in the eastern USA disturbs hundreds of hectares of land every year and removes valuable and ecologically diverse eastern deciduous forests. Reclamation involves restoring the landscape to approximate original contour, replacing the topsoil, and revegetating the site with trees and herbaceous species to a designated post-mining land use. Re-establishing an ecosystem of ecological and economic value as well as restoring soil quality on disturbed sites are the goals of land reclamation, and microbial properties of mine soils can be indicators of restoration success. Reforestation plots were constructed in 2007 using weathered brown sandstone or unweathered gray sandstone as topsoil substitutes to evaluate tree growth and soil properties at Arch Coal's Birch River mine in West Virginia, USA.