Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Dixie Smith
Dr. Hermann Nonnenmacher
Dr. Ananda Jayawardhana
THE EFFECTS OF CLIPPING ON THE BIOMASS PRODUCTION OF NATIVE
WARM SEASON GRASSES ON RECLAIMED
ABANDONED COAL MINE SOILS
James A K Daniel
Strip mining leaves behind highly disrupted plant and soil communities. Mined land reclamation returns the land back to a natural or economically usable state, however, reclamation cannot completely restore the soils to their original state. Subsequently, normal frequencies of management practices may not be as effective as in undisturbed soils. Understanding how the severity of soil disturbance affects plant production is important for habitat rehabilitation and determining effective management techniques to be implemented following reclamation. This project addresses the questions of whether biomass production in warm season grasses on reclaimed coal mines is promoted or inhibited by clipping, and how clipping frequency affects productivity. Grasses were clipped to simulate mowing at three reclaimed mine sites and three undisturbed control sites. Three groups samples labeled A, B, and C were clipped three, two, and one times respectively.
Biomass production was reduced when grass was clipped before peak biomass production. An increase in clipping events reduced production even more. There were no significant differences between the disturbed and undisturbed sites suggesting that whether disturbed or not, cutting before peak production decreases overall biomass production. Analysis of treatments from all the sites showed the treatments that were clipped multiple times were significantly different from the treatment that was clipped once at peak production. Analysis of sites individually showed most sites did not show significance. Higher rates of clipping did not show significance. While not significant at most individual sites, biomass production was higher when samples were only clipped once, at peak biomass production and an increase in clipping decreased the grasses’ ability to recover after clipping in both disturbed and undisturbed sites.
Daniel, James A K, "The Effects of Clipping on the Biomass Production of Native Warm Season Grasses on Reclaimed Abandoned Coal Mine Soils" (2019). Electronic Thesis Collection. 340.