Renew Appalachia, USA
Renew Appalachia sits on a 7,000-acre reclaimed surface coal mine site and offers a diversity of ground conditions. Over half of the site consists of forestlands in need of restoration.
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About

Renew Appalachia sits on a 7,000-acre reclaimed surface coal mine site near Lovely, Kentucky. More than half of the site consists of forestlands in need of improvement and restoration. The coal mining industry throughout the Central Appalachian region of the US has left behind nearly 1.5 million acres of mine-scarred land due to these adverse environmental effects. The repercussions of surface coal mining left the lands deforested and vulnerable to fast-growing non-native plant species that develop into large-scale monocultures. Renew Appalachia is working to reforest this reclaimed land, which includes the removal of suppressed trees, elimination of invasive species and reduction of understory vegetation. Renew Appalachia is now piloting an outpost to demonstrate effective approaches to restore and repurpose similar sites found across Appalachia.

The unintended environmental consequences of surface mining and reclamation throughout the Central Appalachian region of the US – a process that is meant to stabilize ground conditions by intense surface grading, heavy soil compaction and fast growing monoculture groundcover – has lead to high tree mortality stunted tree growth, the introduction of invasive, non-native species, flooding due to reduced topsoil and low water infiltration. These reclaimed sites in Appalachia are halted in a state of arrested ecological succession, maintain depleted levels of soil organic carbon, and offer marginal economic value. The aim of Renew Appalachia is to demonstrate approaches to return these sites to sustainable, productive use, which begins with large-scale ecosystem restoration. This effort is expected to improve watershed characteristics, enhance wildlife habitat, and create employment opportunities in an area that suffers of persistent poverty and economic hardship.

Achievements

Renew Appalachia has started restoration on 1,000 acres and has a three-year schedule of work that will begin restoration on a total of 5,000 acres.

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Activities that need your support ​

Tree planting

Habitat creation

Community building

Regenerative entrepreneurialism

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