How are America's private forests changing? An integrated assessment of forest management, housing pressure, and urban development in alternate emissions scenarios
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Land Use Policy. 32: 230-238.
Private forests are a vital component of the natural ecosystem infrastructure of the United States, and provide critical ecosystem services including clean air and water, energy, wildlife habitat, recreational services, and wood fiber. These forests have been subject to conversion to developed uses due to increasing population pressures. This study examines the changing patterns in the private forests across the urban-rural gradient in 36 states in the eastern United States. We combine observed forest management activities, housing pressure, and 50-year projections of development pressures under alternate IPCC emission scenarios (A1, A2, B1, and B2) to produce a forest pressures index for a total of 45,707 plots located on privately owned land. We find evidence of continued forest loss in suburban/urban regions, and imminent pressure on private forests in exurban regions, while forests in rural regions are found to be relatively stable in next 50 years. Patterns of forest pressures differ depending on the sub-regions, which can be attributed to differing socio-ecological context of these sub-regions. Forest pressures also differ depending on the alternate scenarios considered, as projected increases in impervious surfaces is higher for the A1 and A2 scenarios as compared to the B1 and B2 scenarios. Land owners, often influenced by changing economic, demographic, and environmental trends, will play an important role in managing goods and services provided by these private forests. While it remains challenging to model forest owner attributes, socio-economic factors appear to be critical in shaping the future forested landscape in the United States.
KeywordsPrivate forest Land use Urban-rural interface Forest ownership Socio-economic context Emission scenario
Mondal, Pinki.; Butler, Brett J.; Kittredge, David B.; Moser, Warren K. 2013. How are America's private forests changing? An integrated assessment of forest management, housing pressure, and urban development in alternate emissions scenarios. Land Use Policy. 32: 230-238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.10.014.