Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Effects of Economic Growth on Interior Forests of the Southeast

08.02.2005


Recent Southern Research Station (SRS) research demonstrates how models can be used to forecast future forest conditions in areas of rapid development. In a report published this last fall in Ecology and Society, FS Southern Research Station (SRS) researchers David Wear, John Pye, and Kurt Riitters provide a visual forecast of the effects of population and economic growth on interior forest habitat in the Southeast over the next 40 years.



“Almost 90 percent of the land in the southeastern United State is privately owned,” says Dave Wear, project leader of the SRS forest economics unit in Research Triangle Park, NC. “This means that major land use changes are being shaped by hundreds of thousands of individual decisions. We project that continuing urbanization and low-density residential development over the next decades, though focused in relatively small areas, could have a profound impact on the forest ecosystems in the Southeast.”

A forest can be visualized as an island interior surrounded by an edge. Many species of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and plants that thrive in interior forest habitats cannot live in forest edge habitats. “Maintaining the species diversity of a forest means having suitable proportions of edge and interior habitats,” says Kurt Riiters, deputy program manager for the SRS Forest Health Monitoring unit. “As development proceeds, edge habitat becomes more plentiful and interior habitat more scarce. For this study, we focused on interior forest as an indicator of available habitat for species that tend to decline when forests become too fragmented.”


The researchers used county-level data to estimate and model changes in interior forest in a study area that included the 12 states in the southeastern United State bounded in the north by Kentucky and Virginia and in the west by Texas and Arkansas. At this time, most of these states are still more than 60 percent forested, but five of the states are among the top 10 nationwide for rates of urbanization.

The forecasts made in the article are the result of a sophisticated combination of economic analysis, land cover modeling, fragmentation analysis, and other factors. As expected, the researchers found that interior forest cover decreases in relation to increases in road density, population density, and household income. Interior forest also decreases as the value of agricultural products and site productivity rise. Forecasted changes, however, were not consistent across the region.

“Our forecasts to the year 2020 show the future loss of interior forest highest in the southern Appalachian piedmont of North and South Carolina, with the Gulf prairies and marshes in Texas and the Florida coastal lowlands following,” says Wear. “We project that 66 percent of the loss of interior forests will come from urban counties, which indicates the importance of the forests that fringe major cities.”

Seven of the 10 metropolitan areas slated to lose the most interior forests are in Florida, with the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area losing 34.5 percent of its interior forest. Columbia ( South Carolina ), Atlanta ( Georgia ), and the Research Triangle Area in North Carolina (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) round out the top 10. Large areas of interior forest loss are also forecast for counties around Knoxville and Nashville in Tennessee, and counties along the Gulf of Mexico from the panhandle of Florida to Louisiana.

“With the exception of the southern Appalachian highlands, where a quarter of the land is publicly owned, the future protection of biodiversity in the Southeast will depend on what happens on private land,” says Wear. “The model presented in our article gives us the ability to focus our attention on the areas where biodiversity is most threatened by development and population growth.”

David Wear | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/viewpub.jsp?index=8455

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>