British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Forestry as an end use for reclaimed mines : some considerations Curran, Michael Patrick; Bulmer, Charles Ernest


Sometimes forestry is identified as an end use during mine reclamation planning. This is desirable and is feasible under some conditions. This paper provides some information from our perspective as soil scientists working on forest soil rehabilitation. Resource values such as wildlife and biodiversity figure prominently in forest planning, as does the desire to mimic natural disturbance processes to create a range of natural habitat conditions. Good stewardship of the soil resource is required to create and sustain all of these conditions. Because the "undisturbed" forest land base is under heavy pressure to provide a balance of resource values, one option is to create or maintain some of the non-timber habitat types during mine reclamation. Such an approach might free up more of the naturally productive, "undisturbed" sites for timber production while maintaining an appropriate balance of habitat types in a given area. However, timber production is still a highly desirable end use for mine areas and consideration should be given to topsoil handling, natural disturbance regimes and current harvest scheduling. Rehabilitated areas should be reforested using the same seed and stock standards as for forestry, with local native species and in landscape patterns similar to the undisturbed areas. Depending on the state of harvesting in the surrounding area, production from the mined areas should be fit into the overall harvesting schedule in the local area, to help maintain a balance of serai (age) stages. In summary, commercial trees are likely to grow on many sites, provided some form of topsoil is provided.

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