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Restoring Forests in Appalachia’s Coal Mining Region

Before Federal legislation in 1977, reclamation work did not effectively mitigate the impacts of mining. It significantly altered landscape form and removed forest cover and soils, impeding natural succession. On these legacy mine sites, soils are degraded, invasive species have established, and water quality and wildlife habitat are not improving. This condition has had deleterious effects on wildlife, such as cerulean warblers that rely on mature forest; golden-winged warblers that rely on early successional forest; and aquatic species such as brook trout, eastern hellbender, and freshwater mussels. This coalfield landscape stretches across eight States, two Forest Service Regions, and numerous jurisdictions, making it difficult for the Forest Service to work on a landscape scale. Partnerships with various organizations were needed to restore mine sites across the region.



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