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 From the Arctic to the tropics: researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation
20.11.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit
20.11.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure

21.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

Exoplanet stepping stones

21.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>