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Earthrise

Mountaintop Renewal

Restoring forests in the mine-blasted Appalachian mountaintops of Eastern Kentucky.

Last Modified: 02 Oct 2013 11:40
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Since the 1970s, a controversial form of coal mining known as mountaintop removal has been used on the Appalachian Mountains in the US.

During the process, mountainsides are blasted off to reveal coal seams. Mountain peaks are flattened, streams and rivers buried under rubble, and habitats destroyed.

But reforestation organisation Green Forest Works aims to re-establish native, healthy and productive forests.

After access to mined sites is agreed with landowners, the highly compacted soil is ripped up with a bulldozer. Seedlings are then planted and other vegetation controlled so the young trees can compete for sunlight and nutrients.

"It's amazing how well these trees do on land that has been ripped up," says Nathan Hall, the organisation's reforestation coordinator. "Basically they just need a good seed bed to get their roots down."

Reporter Juliana Schatz travels to Eastern Kentucky to meet the people restoring the forest habitats of the High Appalachians.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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