Re-establishing pollinator habitat on mined lands using the forestry reclamation approach
Coal mining in the Appalachian region has changed as many as 1 million acres of diverse, productive hardwood forest into shrubby fields and grasslands. These fields stubbornly resist becoming forests and exist in a state of “arrested” ecological succession. Such lands don’t provide the same ecosystem services and values as the former forests. One particularly important ecosystem service is that of pollination of plants by a variety of insects. To aid all of the land managers interested in restoration of these lands, Forest Service scientists and practitioners developed a set of science-based best management practices for mine reforestation called the Forestry Reclamation Approach. To help practitioners implement the five steps of the Forestry Reclamation Approach and achieve other restoration goals, they developed an advisory specifically on creating pollinator habitat. The information in the advisory presents mine reforestation strategies that can encourage and support pollinator conservation in the eastern United States. Such activities can also lead to wonderful teaching moments with school children. Reforestation of mined lands using the Forestry Reclamation Approach can inform development of important pollinator habitat and may help support pollinator populations in the Appalachian coal fields.