A comparison of two systems of establishing trees on coal strip mine spoils

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University of New Brunswick


Strip mining for coal found under forested areas leaves large areas of land totally unproductive. The spoils that are left behind are low in nutrients, have a poor water retaining capacity, are unstable, and have a low pH. The treatment system that is commonly carried out on these spoils to reforest them is called the agricultural system. It involves grading followed by primary and secondary site preparation, fertilization, and liming. The proposed system involves grading and then planting each tree in an auger hole filled with soil which will promote tree growth. The cost of planting a jack pine stand by each system is compared. The costs associated with establishing a Christmas tree plantation by the auger system are presented. The results indicate that although the auger system offers several advantages over the agricultural system, it is very expensive by comparison. Key Words: agricultural system, auger system, Christmas trees, costs, plantation, spoils