Planting Trees in Kentucky

coal mine lands reforestation

Legacy Coal Mine Reforestation


The Central Appalachian Region is no stranger to surface coal mining. Many of these areas have been reclaimed under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. However, reforestation efforts were not an enforced part of this plan. As a result, many of the former surface mine areas in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are now heavily populated with grass and shrubs at a density that won’t allow natural tree regeneration.

This project aims to give the trees a hand by reestablishing once-prevalent forest habitats to the region. This includes planting species such as red spruce, upland oak, hickory, and shortleaf pine. As these trees grow, they will provide habitat for small mammals and birds, including at-risk species like the northern goshawk and the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. The nearby headwaters of Shavers Fork and New River will also see the benefits of this planting, including reduced sedimentation, increased oxygen, and cooler waters for the region’s aquatic life.


P.O. Box 1548
Pittsboro, NC 27312