Though the practice of mountaintop removal mining (MTR) is perhaps best-known in West Virginia, it is one of the main drivers of forest change in the entire region of central Appalachia - along the Cumberland and Alleghany Plateaus in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee. This map, produced with data from Appalachian Voices, shows the area affected by mountaintop mining within the Southern United States.
Mountaintop removal mining often leads to long-term loss of forests since woody vegetation is slow to establish on mined areas. Ecosystem services provided by forests, such as water purification and carbon sequestration, may be seriously impaired. Reclaimed areas rarely support biodiversity at pre-mining levels. Mining activity is concentrated within some of the most productive and biodiversity-rich regions of the South, causing great concern over the permitting and operation of these mines.
- Mined area data from Appalachian Voices
- Forest cover data from the National Land Cover Dataset (2007) produced by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC)
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Cite "World Resources Institute."
- Mountaintop Removal Cuts Through Southern Forests
- Southern Forests for the Future Website
- Southern Forests for the Future Report
Other Featured WRI Maps
[inlineview term=4359 theme=list sort=created order=desc]
This map is part of a continuing project to produce maps that shed light on significant environmental issues throughout the world.