Electronic Field Guide » Restoration & Goals » Site Restoration

Prepared by Patrick Drohan (Ecosystem Science and Management)

The process of reforesting a site will be something your family, company, or
organization invests in for the long term.  Therefore, think carefully about your long-term goals and those of the gas company. The company is required to replant the site; their default is usually grass. If provisions have been negotiated before the lease was signed, landowners may require the company to instead plant wildlife forages such as clover or birdsfoot trefoil and to plant edges with mast-producing (fruit-, seed-, or nut-producing) trees and shrubs such as dogwood, crabapple, hybrid oaks, or aspen. Ideally, what you plant and when depends on the long-term goals you have for the site.  Quick establishment of sun-loving early succession species (e.g., pines, yellow birch, black cherry) will help to develop a cover for later-planted shade-tolerant species (e.g., maples, hemlocks).  Ultimately, revegetation beyond grass cover may be at the expense of the landowner. Because of the intense deer pressure in some parts of Pennsylvania, successful plantings often have deer browsing protection, such as tree shelters or fencing. A landowner may consider planting some “sacrifice trees or cover” (e.g., apple), which are used as a lure for deer so that other species are not eaten.
Again, the degree of soil compaction may limit plantings.  In areas that have been compacted, poor drainage may result. Local, but temporary, wet conditions may result in a site habitat conducive to species that can tolerate ephemeral wet conditions. 
In some cases, access roads may be removed and can then be replanted in grass. A company may also wish to keep access open for well maintenance.