Laws regulating mine reclamation following coal extraction mandate the establishment of vegetative cover, which often includes the introduction of non-native plant species. We evaluated the vegetative community composition of a recovering, reclaimed surface mine at The Wilds, a conservation center in southeastern Ohio. In 2007 and 2009, we identified a total of 109 species within a 1885-ha grassland area. After >30 years postreclamation, invasive species were the predominant plants at the site, with no evidence of succession towards a mixed mesophytic forest typical of the region. Our study illustrates how non-native plantings followed by passive management can result in the development and stability of non-native communities even decades after reclamation. Strategic and longterm management efforts, such as careful preparation of the rooting zone for trees, or the establishment of deep-rooted native plants, along with frequent monitoring, are needed to recover native vegetation and associated wildlife.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1