MathBench > Environmental Science

The Case of the Missing Mountaintop


How to destroy forest habitat

So if the mountain is on top of the coal, how do you get at it? Here are some ways:

Underground mines are both dangerous and expensive, and in many cases, especially in Appalachia, mining companies have mostly switched to surface mining. For that, you first need to get rid of the trees.

This deforestation has many effects on the ecosystem and on animal habitat:


This is just a partial list of the effects of deforestation. Imagine how quickly your world would change if you lived in the area shown above -- over just 15 years!

Re-establishing a natural forest after mining operations is generally not possible. Tree seedlings have a difficult time getting established in the compacted backfill, and mining companies typically use fast-growing non-native plant to quickly establish ground cover and prevent more erosion.