Conversion options for mining-affected lands and waters in appalachia

Carl E. Zipper, Carmen T. Agouridis, Christopher D. Barton, Jeff Skousen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


More than 10,000 km2 of Appalachia have been surface mined for coal. Surface-mined lands represent an underutilized resource and can be converted to more productive uses that support ecological and human needs. Seeding, fertilization, and vegetation management can convert degraded mine sites to livestockpasture. Mined lands occupied by invasive plants can be made more similar to native ecosystems by controlling non-native species, mitigating soil limitations, and planting native trees. Degraded mine-site streams can be rebuilt to restore hydrologic function and aquatic habitat. If mine soils have suitable properties, appropriate cultural techniques can be applied to produce biomass crops. If geotechnically stable, mined lands can support housing projects, industrial sites, and other large-scale building structures. Due to their wide availability and lack of competing uses, mined lands may prove suitable as locations for renewable energy projects. Mined-land conversions require technical expertise and often require significant expense; when such resources are available, degraded mined lands of the types that are common throughout Appalachia's coalfield can be converted to beneficial uses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAppalachia's Coal-Mined Landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationResources and Communities in a New Energy Era
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030577803
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021.


  • Biomass crops
  • Land development
  • Photovoltaic
  • Reforestation
  • Stream restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)
  • Engineering (all)


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