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Vegetational Community Development on Reclaimed Coal Surface Mines in Virginia

Karen D. Holl and John Cairns, Jr.
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 121, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1994), pp. 327-337
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2997006
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2997006
Page Count: 11
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Vegetational Community Development on Reclaimed Coal Surface Mines in Virginia
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Abstract

Coal surface mining has had an immense impact on the landscape of the Appalachian region. This study investigated the composition of the vegetational communities of 18 reclaimed coal surface mined sites at different stages of succession and 5 sites in the surrounding hardwoods. While many species common in the hardwood forests are found in reclaimed sites, the vegetational community composition of older reclaimed sites is far from approximating the composition of the reference hardwood sites. Herbaceous species richness is similar on all sites, while tree species richness increases with site age. Vegetational structure of reclaimed sites differs substantially from the surrounding hardwoods. Although reclaimed sites host many of the more common vegetational species, the role of reclaimed sites in the conservation of the flora of this region appears to be limited.

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