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Forests 2016, 7(7), 132; doi:10.3390/f7070132

Regional Differences in Upland Forest to Developed (Urban) Land Cover Conversions in the Conterminous U.S., 1973–2011

1
U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observations and Science (EROS) Center, 47914 252nd St., Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
2
U.S. Geological Survey, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, 2150 C Centre Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
3
Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT), contracter to the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observations and Science (EROS) Center, 222 Big Ravine Drive, Whitefish, MT 48169, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Francisco Escobedo, Stephen John Livesley and Justin Morgenroth
Received: 27 March 2016 / Revised: 14 June 2016 / Accepted: 15 June 2016 / Published: 28 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban and Periurban Forest Diversity and Ecosystem Services)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2803 KB, uploaded 28 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

In this U.S. Geological Survey study of forest land cover across the conterminous U.S. (CONUS), specific proportions and rates of forest conversion to developed (urban) land were assessed on an ecoregional basis. The study period was divided into six time intervals between 1973 and 2011. Forest land cover was the source of 40% or more of the new urban land in 35 of the 84 ecoregions located within the CONUS. In 11 of these ecoregions this threshold exceeded in every time interval. When the percent of change, forest to urban, was compared to the percent of forest in each ecoregion, 58 ecoregions had a greater percent of change and, in six of those, change occurred in every time interval. Annual rates of forest to urban land cover change of 0.2% or higher occurred in 12 ecoregions at least once and in one ecoregion in all intervals. There were three ecoregions where the above conditions were met for nearly every time interval. Even though only a small number of the ecoregions were heavily impacted by forest loss to urban development within the CONUS, the ecosystem services provided by undeveloped forest land cover need to be quantified more completely to better inform future regional land management. View Full-Text
Keywords: Forest to urban developed land cover change; urbanization; conterminous U.S.; ecoregions; remote sensing Forest to urban developed land cover change; urbanization; conterminous U.S.; ecoregions; remote sensing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Auch, R.F.; Drummond, M.A.; Xian, G.; Sayler, K.L.; Acevedo, W.; Taylor, J.L. Regional Differences in Upland Forest to Developed (Urban) Land Cover Conversions in the Conterminous U.S., 1973–2011. Forests 2016, 7, 132.

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