Nav: Home

Average distance to a forest increased by almost 14 percent in the continental US in a decade

February 22, 2017

During the 1990s, in the continental US key connecting forest patches have been lost resulting in an increase of the average forest distance by more than 500m, according to a study published February 22, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sheng Yang and Giorgos Mountrakis from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, USA.

Changes in national forest patterns other than fragmentation have been little studied. However, forest attrition -- the complete removal of forest patches -- can cause habitat losses as well as severe declines in the population sizes and richness of species. Based on an analysis of satellite-derived land cover data, Yang and Mountrakis studied geographic patterns of forest cover loss in the continental US during the 1990s.

The researchers found that the total loss of forest cover nationwide was 90,400 square kilometers during this decade, a 2.96% decline that is about the size of the state of Maine. In addition, forest attrition was considerably higher in the western US, rural areas and public lands. Investigating the reasons for these patterns, said the researchers, is essential for proactive conservation management. This work could be extended to forests worldwide using recent maps of global forest cover.
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE:

Citation: Yang S, Mountrakis G (2017) Forest dynamics in the U.S. indicate disproportionate attrition in western forests, rural areas and public lands. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0171383. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171383

Funding: This work was supported by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, U.S. Forest Service and a SUNY ESF Graduate Assistantship. We would like to thank Dr. Colin Beier and Dr. David Nowak for their insights and Dr. Steve Stehman for statistical support.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Related Forestry Articles:

Researchers see need for action on forest fire risk
How do humans affect forest fires? An international team of researchers has now shown for a region in north-eastern Poland that forest fires increasingly occurred there after the end of the 18th century with the change to organised forestry.
How changes in land use could reduce the browning of lakes
Over the past 50 years, the water in lakes and watercourses has turned increasingly brown.
Vietnam can reduce emissions, save $2.3 billion by 2030 in ag, forestry and land use
Vietnam is one of the fortunate nations that has a suite of untapped options for emissions reductions that, if undertaken, can save the country an estimated $2.3 billion by 2030, substantially decrease emissions while increasing agricultural productivity, and benefit coastal and forest ecosystems.
Forest fires as an opportunity for ecosystem recovery
It is estimated that globally there are more than two million hectares of land in need of restoration.
Measuring climate impact of forests management -- a groundbreaking approach
A group of forestry research experts led by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, has developed a rigorous new fact-based carbon accounting system that reflects how forest management practices can help mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
More Forestry News and Forestry Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...