J. A. Burger

J. A. Burger
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | VT · Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Ph. D

About

227
Publications
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Publications

Publications (227)
Book
Full-text available
Appalachian forests are among the most productive and diverse in the world. The land underlying them is also rich in coal, and surface mines operated on more than 2.4 million acres in the region from 1977, when the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act was passed, through 2015. Many efforts to reclaim mined lands most often resulted in...
Article
In Southern Patagonia, introduction of exotic grasses after forest fires strongly restricts restoration of Nothofagus spp forests. The use of polycarbonate shelters to shield Nothofagus seedlings has been not enough for getting restoration success. Selection of natural facilitation microsites (i.e. logs, rocks, pioneer plants) for seedling outplant...
Article
Rock-derived overburden material is used as a topsoil substitute for reclamation of Appalachian coal mines. We evaluated five mixtures (n = 4 each) of sandstone (SS) and siltstone (SiS) overburden as topsoil substitutes for 25+ years to quantify changes in mine soil properties. The study area was planted only to tall fescue [Schedonorus arundinaceu...
Research
Full-text available
Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative Forest Reclamation Advisory for surface mining operators
Book
Full-text available
Mining in Ecologically Sensitive Landscapes explores the interface between geology and botany, and mining and conservation. Many areas of unusual geology that contain ore-bearing bodies also support unique ecological communities of plants and animals. Increasing demand to exploit rich mineral deposits can lead to a conflict between mining and conse...
Article
Surface mining in the Appalachian Coal Basin drastically disturbs the landscape. Post-mining reforestation efforts have reached reliable tree survivability and growth; however, it is unclear whether these reforestation efforts also restore the ecological functions associated with the native forest ecosystem. The objectives of this study were to qua...
Article
Full-text available
Búsqueda de un modelo para rehabilitación de sitios perturbados por minería en la Patagonia Occidental
Article
Sustainability of mined-land reclamation is of growing importance, with over 600,000 ha of the Appalachian coal region disturbed since 1977. Long-term evaluation of soil under various reclamation strategies is also important. Aggregation and organic matter (OM) influence both soil structure and function and can be of use in evaluating reclaimed sys...
Article
There is renewed interest in re-establishing trees on 0.6 million ha of mining-disturbed lands in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern United States. Many coal-mined lands reclaimed to meet requirements of US federal law have thick herbaceous vegetation and compacted soils which impede tree establishment. Mitigation practices were applied on three...
Article
Full-text available
Aims Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) is being restored across the U.S. South for a multitude of ecological and economic reasons, but our understanding of longleaf pine’s response to soil physical conditions is poor. On the contrary, our understanding of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) root and shoot growth response to soil conditions is well e...
Conference Paper
Coal mining has drastically disturbed 600,000 ha of land in the Appalachian region since the 1800’s. Prior to mining, this land was primarily vegetated by mixed hardwood forest. Only in the last few decades has research emphasized the reestablishment of the forest ecosystem. Great strides have been made in tree establishment and survival, yet quest...
Article
Extensive areas of pine forests on wet mineral soils in the southeastern United States are harvested during nearly saturated soil conditions. Harvest trafficking during wet conditions can alter soil physical properties related to forest productivity, however mechanical site preparation can potentially ameliorate harvest induced trafficking disturba...
Article
Bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) access saturated wetland soils and move through them to thermoregulate, find cover, and hibernate. Variability in the physical properties of the soil that affects suitability for turtle use is little understood. We identified dominant soil series and measured soil organic carbon (SOC) content and particle size i...
Article
The Millwood (MW) cultivar of the honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos L.) tree has gained particular interest for silvopasture systems due to the production of edible, high-sugar seedpods that livestock may consume after pod drop. Two studies were conducted within an active sheep and honeylocust silvopasture to (1) estimate nutritional variability o...
Article
Full-text available
The eastern U.S. Appalachian region supports the world's most extensive temperate forests, but surface mining for coal has caused forest loss. New reclamation methods are being employed with the intent of restoring native forest on Appalachian mined lands. Mine soil construction is essential to the reforestation process. Here, we review scientific...
Article
Full-text available
The bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) is known to select wetland areas that are near water with deep mud, but water table dynamics in their habitats have not been well described. We installed and monitored shallow groundwater wells to evaluate hydrology over a continuous 28-month period on six wetlands known to be frequently used by bog turtles a...
Article
Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos L.) seedpods have potential as a feed supplement within silvopasture systems but may degrade after dropping to the ground. Seedpods from representative 'Millwood' (MW) and wild-type (WT) honeylocust trees were exposed to ambient conditions during fall and winter. At monthly intervals (November to March), seedpods...
Article
Full-text available
Competitive effects of dense herbaceous vegetation (ground cover) can inhibit forest restoration on mine sites. Here we review the evidence of ground cover interactions with planted tree seedlings on coal surface mines of the eastern US, discuss recent research into these interactions, and draw conclusions concerning ground cover management when re...
Article
Full-text available
A 29-ha mine site in Buchanan County, Virginia, was reclaimed using methods intended to produce favorable conditions for reforestation and planted with forest trees in early 2002. After soil grading, the site was mapped for forest site quality considering rock type, aspect, and soil compaction. Trees of eleven species and one shrub species were pre...
Article
Successful afforestation of lands surface-mined for coal in Appalachia presents the opportunity to also restore American chestnut (Castanea dentata) within its native range, now that it has been bred for chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) resistance. Chestnut, before the blight, was an important component of the mixed mesophytic forest in e...
Article
Native trees can be re-established on coal surface mine sites in eastern USA if appropriate reclamation techniques are used. Soil grading and herbaceous vegetation seeding are essential reclamation practices that may influence plant community reestablishment and hydrologic processes that are essential to forested landscapes. We evaluated effects of...
Article
Full-text available
A plate meter for measuring pasture mass was calibrated at Agroforestry Research Site in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, using six ungrazed plots of established tall fescue overseeded with orchardgrass. Each plot was interplanted with bare root honey locust and black walnut seedlings spaced along a gradient ranging from 1.8 to 11.0 m. Plate height (PH)...
Article
Silvopastures may have the potential to increase forage yields beneath trees compared to open pasture at some sites. This has been attributed to a combination of factors including improved water use efficiency by shaded grass and increased water availability through hydraulic lift by trees. The objectives of this research were to determine if silvo...
Article
The Appalachian region in the eastern United Sates is home to the Earth's most extensive temperate deciduous forests, but coal mining has caused forest loss and fragmentation. More than 6000 km in Appalachia have been mined for coal since 1980 under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). We assessed Appalachian areas mined under SM...
Article
The demand for energy throughout the world grows each day, and coal will be needed to meet a large portion of that demand. Coal mining techniques in the Appalachian and Midwestern coalfields have evolved to mine larger land areas and multiple seams at greater depths. New reclamation methods and approaches also must evolve to minimize cumulative imp...
Article
Full-text available
Lands mined for coal and reclaimed under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) can be used to produce woody biomass. This study evaluates woody biomass production on SMCRA-reclaimed lands after ripping to reduce soil compaction. Four species treatments were established at two planting densities on three Wise County, Virginia, mine...
Article
Full-text available
The Forestry Reclamation Approach is a five-step system for reclaiming mined lands to forests. Step 1 of the FRA involves creating a suitable rooting medium for good tree growth using topsoil, weathered sandstone and/or the best available material. Several types of overburden types can be selected to place on the surface as growth media. These spoi...
Article
More than 600,000 hectares of mostly forested land in the Appalachian region were surface mined for coal under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Today, these lands are largely unmanaged and covered with persistent herbaceous species, such as fescue and serecia lespedeza, and a mix of invasive and native woody species with little comme...
Article
Full-text available
Surface coal mining in Appalachia has caused extensive replacement of forest with non-forested land cover, much of which is unmanaged and unproductive. Although forested ecosystems are valued by society for both marketable products and ecosystem services, forests have not been restored on most Appalachian mined lands because traditional reclamation...
Article
Full-text available
The Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) is a method for reclaiming coal-mined land to forest (FRA Advisory #2, Burger and others 2005). The FRA is based on research, knowledge, and experience of forest soil scientists and reclamation practitioners. Forest Reclamation Advisories are guidance documents that describe state-of-the-science procedures fo...
Article
Full-text available
Since the implementation of SMCRA, mined land has been heavily graded and much of it has been severely compacted as coal operators attempted to return it to its approximate original contour. Tree survival and growth on compacted mine soils was invariably poor, which compelled mine operators to use non-forestry, post-mining, land reclamation. Howeve...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Under-utilized, previously mined lands may be used to produce woody biomass materials for energy production and C sequestration. Past research trials have shown that tree growth on mined lands can be highly productive if suitable reclamation practices are used. This study tests the productivity of woody biomass plantations on previously mined lands...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Physical and biological properties of soils developing from spoil material following surface coal mining in southwest Virginia are poorly understood. Additionally, the effects of various types of soil amendments such as sawdust, topsoil or biosolids on long-term soil development are lacking in the current literature. The objective of this study was...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of many owners of reclaimed mined land in the Appalachian region is to restore the diverse native hardwood forest for environmental, economic, and cultural reasons. However, native hardwoods often grow poorly on mined sites because they are planted in unsuitable spoils devoid of native topsoil. In a greenhouse experiment, we examined the s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Southern industrial pine plantations are intensively managed. Shortened rotations and wet season trafficking can result in signifi cant soil disturbances. This study investigated the effects of wet and dry weather harvesting, the ameliorative effect of bedding on soil site productivity on a rotation-length study, and compared the cost benefi t of s...
Article
The northern and central Appalachian forests are subject to high levels of atmospheric acid deposition (AD), which has been shown in some forests to negatively impact forest growth as well as predispose the forest system to damage from secondary stresses. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible contribution of AD to changes in compos...
Article
Only within the past 100 years have we, as recent immigrants to this continent, made a concerted effort to restore and manage the composition and productivity of North American forests. One of the earliest manifestations of management effects on growth, production, and sustainability was reforestation and land stabilization of wind- and water-erode...
Article
Reforestation of the Appalachian coalfields with native hardwoods is becoming increasingly popular. However, establishing some hardwood species has been difficult due to the poor quality of many mine soils. The purpose of this study was to contrast after 15 years the growth, survival, and overall performance of seven hardwood species planted on thr...
Article
There is increasing interest in the restoration of native Appalachian hardwood forests using the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) on sites that are being reclaimed following surface mining for coal. Additionally, much interest has developed in the deployment of American chestnut trees that have been improved through breeding to have both blight...
Article
Full-text available
The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) is a broad-based citizen/industry/government program working to encourage the planting of productive trees on abandoned and active coal mine lands. Forestry research has confirmed that highly productive forestland can be created on reclaimed mine land by using a five step straight-forward met...
Article
Carbon (C) accreditation of forest development projects is one approach for sequestering atmospheric CO2, under the provisions of the Kyoto protocol. The C sequestration potential of reforested mined land is not well known. The purpose of this work was to estimate and compare the ecosystem C content in forests established on surface, coal-mined and...
Article
Full-text available
There is renewed interest in restoring forests on surface mined lands in the Appalachians. Many lands reclaimed since the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) have dense ground covers and compacted soil materials, in some cases associated with unfavorable soil chemical properties. To address these concerns, thre...
Article
Full-text available
During the past five years, a forestry reclamation approach has been adopted by some coal companies. To ensure adequate tree survival and growth, competition from erosion control groundcovers must be reduced. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of herbaceous groundcover on reforestation success after five years for Phase III bond relea...
Article
The two most common options for post-mining land uses in the southern Appalachians are hayland/pasture or forestry. Hayland/pasture has become the predominant reclamation type due to strict regulation standards requiring quick and dense erosion control by herbaceous cover. Recently, more landowners have become interested in returning mined land to...
Article
Harvest operations conducted under conditions of high soil moisture on a wet pine flat in South Carolina resulted in a high degree of soil surface disturbance. Less soil surface disturbance occurred when soil moisture content was lower. Soil strength varied by soil disturbance class in wet harvested locations and highly disturbed areas were associa...
Article
Full-text available
Wet-weather logging can cause severe soil physical disturbances and redistribute residues. Although some research indicates negative effects of such disturbances on individual tree growth, the long-term resilience and resistance of soils and the ameliorative effects of site preparation are not fully understood. Three 20 ha loblolly pine (Pinus taed...
Article
Full-text available
Northern red oak is a valuable commercial species occurring throughout the Appalachian Coalfields Region. It reportedly grows on mined land, but little is known about preferred site and soil conditions for this species on mined land. The purpose of our field study was to test red oak survival and growth rates on a variety of topsoil substitutes. Th...
Article
Many coal-surface mines reclaimed under SMCRA in eastern US were not restored to forest vegetation and are not currently in a managed use. Reforestation of these lands could provide benefits including timber production, watershed protection, and carbon (C) sequestration. Our objectives were to determine the suitability of eastern US coal-mined land...
Article
Full-text available
Appalachian landowners are becoming increasingly interested in restoring native hardwood forest on reclaimed mined land. Trees are usually planted in topsoil substitutes consisting of blasted rock strata, and reforestation attempts using native hardwoods are often unsuccessful due to adverse soil properties. The purpose of this study was to determi...
Article
The connection between forests and water resources is well established, but the relationships among controlling factors are only partly understood. Concern over the effects of forestry operations, particularly harvesting, on extreme flooding events is a recurrent issue in forest and watershed management. Due to the complexity of the system, and the...
Article
Full-text available
White pine (Pinus strobus L.) is planted extensively following reclamation of surface-mined land in the eastern coalfields. Little information exists on the productive potential of forests growing on reclaimed mined land and the response of these forests to intermediate stand treatments such as thinning. A thinning study was established in a 17-yea...
Article
Full-text available
Incorporating trees into pastures may alter forage nutritive value. The objective of this study was to determine nutritive value in response to trees and slope position in an emulated (no animals) silvopasture. In 1995, black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) and honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos L.) trees were planted within three block plots of predomi...
Article
The goal of many landowners who own reclaimed mined land is to restore the diverse mixed mesophytic forest for environmental, economic, and cultural reasons. However, native hardwoods tend to grow poorly on mined sites due to their physical, chemical and biological mine spoil properties. A 4 x 2 x 3 factorial greenhouse experiment was conducted wit...
Article
Reclaimed surface coal mines in the eastern United States are commonly revegetated with grasses and legumes. The productivity and carbon sequestration potential of the vegetation varies with the condition and nature of the mined site and soil. This study was conducted to determine the distribution pattern of soil carbon stock on 9 mined grasslands...
Article
Southern forests produce multiple products and services including timber, wildlife habitat, species bio- and genetic diversity, water quality and control, waste remediation, recreation, and carbon sequestration. All of these benefits must be produced in a sustainable manner to meet today's societal needs without compromising future needs. A forest...