Vegetation development and native species establishment in reclaimed coal mine lands in Alberta : directions for reclamation planning Longman, Penny
This study evaluates the reclamation vegetation at Coal Valley Mine (CVM) in Alberta with respect to a series of expected vegetation changes, establishes a successional model of the vegetation development, and examines factors contributing to the observed patterns. Recommendations are developed that will improve convergence of reclamation effort with established reclamation goals. A study area of reclamation vegetation was initiated at CVM based on year of reclamation and the vegetation in these areas assessed with respect to expected changes in vegetation patterns over time. Results indicate that most expected trends were evident (lower graminoid cover and height, lower legume cover, higher native species richness, and the establishment of woody species). Four vegetation communities were identified and a successional model constructed. The cause of the increased native species diversity and cover with time since reclamation was deemed uncertain but may have been positively influenced by CVM’s planting program that operated in the early years of the reclamation at the mine. The research highlights the need for a monitoring program to inform future reclamation efforts.
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