Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Mar;1223:39-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.05986.x.

The environmental costs of mountaintop mining valley fill operations for aquatic ecosystems of the Central Appalachians.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. ebernhar@duke.edu

Abstract

Southern Appalachian forests are recognized as a biodiversity hot spot of global significance, particularly for endemic aquatic salamanders and mussels. The dominant driver of land-cover and land-use change in this region is surface mining, with an ever-increasing proportion occurring as mountaintop mining with valley fill operations (MTVF). In MTVF, seams of coal are exposed using explosives, and the resulting noncoal overburden is pushed into adjacent valleys to facilitate coal extraction. To date, MTVF throughout the Appalachians have converted 1.1 million hectares of forest to surface mines and buried more than 2,000 km of stream channel beneath mining overburden. The impacts of these lost forests and buried streams are propagated throughout the river networks of the region as the resulting sediment and chemical pollutants are transmitted downstream. There is, to date, no evidence to suggest that the extensive chemical and hydrologic alterations of streams by MTVF can be offset or reversed by currently required reclamation and mitigation practices.

© 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.

PMID:
21449964
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk