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DEVELOPING DIVERSE, EFFECTIVE, AND PERMANENT PLANT COMMUNITIES ON RECLAIMED SURFACE COAL MINES: RESTORING ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION
Vasquez, E.A., and R.L. Sheley. Journal American Society of Mining and Reclamation 7(1):77-109(2018)

This article focuses on lands to be reclaimed back to rangelands similar to pre-mine ecosystem in terms of plant composition/diversity, structure, and ecosystem function. Because plant functional groups can differ in their spatial and temporal acquisition of resources, improving functional diversity may be a method to more fully utilize soil nutrients in reclaimed soils and improve resilience to weed invasion. Strategically combining species with different seed/seedling traits in seed mixtures can increase chances of achieving adequate plant establishment during revegetation. Monitoring program design should be an integral part of the reclamation planning process, and indicators reflecting landscape-scale processes can be adapted to monitor reclamation project success. Effective reclamation plans are process-oriented, seek to initiate self-repair, and address landscape interactions. The probability of achieving successful reclamation is enhanced by pursuing a broader goal of improving ecosystem vigor, organization and resilience utilizing novel assemblages of species that perform desired functions and produce a range of ecosystem goods and services. Reclaiming mined land requires realistic objectives that consider the ecological potential of the site, land-use goals, and socioeconomic constraints. This article is Open Access at https://www.asmr.us/Portals/0/Documents/Journal/Volume-7-Issue-1/Vasquez-CO.pdf.



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