Question: Does aspect affect hydroseeding success and the development of vegetation during early vegetation establishment on the steep slopes of coal wastes during the reclamation process?
Location: Open-pit coal mine near Villanueva de la Peña, northern Spain.
Methods: In the first year after hydroseeding, we monitored the dynamics of hydroseeded species in three permanent plots of 20 m2 on north- and south-facing slopes every two months. Soil properties and weather conditions were also monitored.
Results: Aspect was related to total plant cover during early revegetation, and south-facing slopes had the lowest cover. Aspect also influenced the early dynamics of hydroseeded grasses and legumes establishing on these slopes. Grass cover was greater on the north slope throughout the study, but differences in plant cover between north and south slopes appeared later for the legumes. Aspect also affected the relative contribution of both of grasses and legumes to the total plant cover, with grasses dominant on both northern and southern slopes, except during the summer on the southern slope. The species with the greatest difference in cover between the north- and south-facing slopes were Festuca spp., Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens.
Conclusion: In coal mine reclamation areas of Mediterranean climates, differences in the development of hydroseeded species depended on the slope of the coal mine reclamation areas, and this information is of importance to managers in selecting species for use in reclamation.
Nomenclature: Tutin et al. (1964–1980).