Forest Restoration Following Surface Mining Disturbance: Challenges and Solutions
Macdonald, S. E., S. Landhäusser, J. Skousen, J. Frouz, S. Quideau, and S. Hall., and D. Jacobs.  2015.  New Forests, 46(5-6): 703-732.

Abstract:
Many forested landscapes around the world host rich reserves of mineral and energy resources. To obtain these resources, the landscape and ecosystems are severely altered during mining activities. Pre-mining, these ecological systems are structurally complex and are composed of a diversity of plant species and communities. Thus, these severe mining disturbances present challenges for reclamation to restore land capability to that which existed prior to disturbance. Reclamation entails re-constructing landforms by placing and re-grading the disturbed geologic materials in a way that will provide the hydrologic connectivity necessary to ensure moisture supply to the redeveloping forest. Then topsoil materials need to be replaced followed by planting or management that will facilitate natural regeneration of desired species that will support the post-mining land use objectives. Following re-grading, soil placement and vegetation establishment, the forest soils will continued to develop and natural plant succession will proceed towards a condition in which the restored forest will provide ecological functions and benefits similar to those before mining. In the long term the restored forest landscape must support the diversity of organisms which formerly inhabited and used the site and it should also exhibit resilience in the face of future natural disturbances and stresses. Herein we provide an overview of the challenges inherent in efforts to restore mined landscapes to functioning forest ecosystems and present a synthesis of recent progress towards restoring forests with a particular emphasis on two areas where there is considerable disturbance for mineral extraction: eastern USA and Alberta, Canada.