First-year development of plant communities originating from forest topsoils placed on southern Appalachian minesoils.

Published online
01 Jan 1983
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Farmer, R. E., Jr. & Cunningham, M. & Barnhill, M. A.

Publication language
USA & Tennessee


In microplots, forest topsoils from mixed deciduous stands in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee were spread over surface minesoils from the same region and supplemented with nitrogen and phosphorus. First-year plant communities originating from seed banks in these topsoils contained about 1.9 X 106 shoots ha-1, representing 134 taxa. At the end of the first growing season, oven-dry shoot and root weight was about 8.4 t ha-1. Nutrient analysis suggested that most of the added nutrients were retained in biomass. Roots were extensively colonized with endomycorrhizae. It is concluded that forest topsoils in areas surface mined for coal in southern Appalachia can provide diverse plant communities capable of quick, effective cover on reclaimed mine areas.

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