British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Control of vegetation damage by small rodents on reclaimed land Green, Jeffrey Emil, 1952-


Because stabilization of the tailings sand berms is necessary to reduce erosion by wind and water, the use of ground covers cannot be totally eliminated. Some form of ground cover and/or soil stabilizer is necessary. Widespread use of an artificial soil stabilizer, such as hydromulch, is not feasible because of the large size of the reclamation areas. The solution appears to be the development of a seed mix which will result in a ground cover community with several characteristics: 1. a well-developed root system to help stabilize the tailings sand; 2. a poor capability to compete with trees and shrubs for water and nutrients; 3. a minimal development of above-ground plant cover to reduce the attractiveness to M. pennsylvanicus; and 4. a reproductive capability sufficient to maintain a self- sustaining vegetation community. Several species of grasses, which may meet these criteria, are currently being tested on the Reduced Cover and Combined Treatment study areas. Tree and shrub survival might also be enhanced through timing of the reclamation program. For example, trees and shrubs might first be planted on reclamation sites and allowed to establish prior to the application of a sparse ground cover mix. In addition, because M. pennsylvanicus populations appear to reach high numbers only once every three to four years and because damage can be expected to increase to critical levels during these peak, years, trees and shrubs should be planted immediately following the population decline. The trees and shrubs consequently would have two to three complete growing seasons before the next population peak of M. pennsylvanicus and likely would be better able to withstand the stress of girdling damage.

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