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University of Kentucky Commonwealth Collaborative


"Reclaiming the Future: Reforestation in Appalachia"

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Since the implementation of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, many opportunities have been lost for the reforestation of surface mines in the eastern United States.  Excessive compaction of spoil material in the backfilling and grading process is the biggest impediment to the establishment of productive forests as a post-mining land use.  As the result of reforestation research, a five step Forestry Reclamation Approach is being recommended for successfully establishing productive forests on reclaimed surface mines.

Don Graves, Professor at the University of Kentucky Forestry Department explains that "Planting a tree and re-establishing a forest are two different things.  We are not just putting trees back on the mine site, but trying to re-establish the function of the forest, which includes enhancing wildlife habitat, improving water quality and stream systems, reduction of erosion and sedimentation, less flooding and cleaner air."

The five steps of the Forestry Reclamation Approach for properly reclaiming surface mined land into a forest are explained on this DVD (Run time: 29:50).  

The full video is available for viewing at the website listed below.  (Note: This is an offsite link, which requires Quicktime for viewing.)

To order a copy of the full video, click here.

Teachers' Guide to accompany "Reclaiming the Future: Reforestation in Appalachia"

Television and Radio Multimedia

WYMT News Clip (11/03/2006)

     This clip was aired on the 6:00PM and 11:00PM news on WYMT-Hazard.

    East Kentucky Broadcasting Radio Recording (05/09/07)

         This recording is of a special broadcast "Reclaiming the Future: Reforestation in Appalachia" that East Kentucky Broadcasting aired on the following radio stations: WEKB - Elkhorn City, KY; WPKE-AM - Pikeville, KY; WPKE_FM - Pikeville, KY; WDHR - Pikeville, KY; WLSI - Pikeville; WPRT - Prestonsburg; WBTH - Williamson, WV; and WXCC - Williamson, WV.  (The recording is approximately 80 minutes in length.)
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