Active Mine Land Reforestation
The Division is leading the effort in Ohio to advance reforestation on active coal mines using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA), an unconventional reclamation method that improves reforestation success.
Historically, the vast majority of Ohio's mine land was returned to pasture--not to forests--largely because successful reforestation has been difficult to achieve. Typically, once an area has been mined, soils are left compacted, severely limiting the ability of tree seedlings to grow and survive when traditional planting methods are used.
Ohio's representatives to the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI), a cooperative effort that encourages reforestation on reclaimed coal mines in the Eastern United States, are working with ODNR's mining regulators to reevaluate mining and reclamation methods in order to promote tree planting.
Reevaluation has allowed mine operators to reclaim mine sites without compacting soil and to benefit from cost-effective regulatory compliance. Through the willingness of landowners and the cooperation of mine operators, the FRA creates productive forests that generate value for landowners and provide watershed protection, wildlife habitat and other environmental services.
Administrators are encouraged to see cooperation among state and federal regulators and mine operators working on such an important reforestation initiative. Although agricultural land is very important as a post-mining land use, landowners need to recognize that forest lands provide a significant commercial and environmental value to the citizens of the state.
For more information about the FRA or ARRI in Ohio, contact John Kehn in DMRM’s Cambridge office at 740-439-9079 or Mike Hiscar, Office of Surface Mining, Columbus at 614-416-2238.