Americas national forests are beginning to resemble "islands" of green wilderness, increasingly trapped by an expanding sea of new houses, a forestry researcher will report today at the 90th annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Montreal, Canada.
The widening circle of development around forests such as the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California is serving to block natural corridors, or wild "highways" that enable plants and wildlife to move easily between nearby forests, says Volker Radeloff, a forestry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Radeloff analyzed government census data on housing increases in and near all U.S. national forests between 1950 and 2000.
"(In an isolated state), a forest cannot function as well for biodiversity," says Radeloff, who conducted his analysis in collaboration with UW-Madison graduate students and the North Central Research Station of the United States Forest Service.
Volker Radeloff | EurekAlert!
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