Islam, K (The Ohio State University, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, OH, 45661; 740-289-2071; Fax: 740-289-4591; Email:


Sequestration of Soil Carbon on Ohio Mine Sites After Reclamation and Reforestation


D.K. Apsley *, K.R. Islam, P.S. Perry


US agricultural soils and forests sequester about 700 million tones of CO2 equivalent per year (EPA 2004), over 90% of which is from forest carbon sequestration. Although this amount alone only offsets about one tenth of national greenhouse gas emissions, various actions can be taken to enhance carbon sequestration in forest soils especially mine sites. To evaluate the impact of reforestation activities on carbon sequestration in degraded lands, soil core samples at 0 - 15 cm depth were collected from various reclaimed striped mine sites and an unreclaimed spoil site within the Wayne National Forest, Ohio. Soil samples were composited, processed and analyzed for concentration and masses of active, passive, extractable, organic, inorganic and total C pools. Averaged across forest species, the concentration and mass of active, organic and total carbon pools were significantly higher in reclaimed strip mined soil than unreclaimed mine spoil. Reclaimed mine soils under white (Pinus strobus) and Virginia pine (P. virginiana) sequestered more carbon than mixed stands of Virginia pine and hardwood species, and mixed hardwood species, respectively. Carbon sequestration was more pronounced in the active fraction of soil organic matter. Reclaimed striped mine soils under Virginia and White pine sequestered 35% more active carbon content within the first 10 to 18 years following reclamation than unreclaimed mine spoil under native stands of hardwood species after 30 years. Likewise reclaimed mine soils under Virginia and White pine sequestered 30% more total organic carbon than in unreclaimed spoil over the same time periods.