Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eastern US forests resume decline

Date:
April 7, 2010
Source:
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Summary:
A comprehensive study finds that urban expansion is the main cause of a net loss of forested land in the eastern United States over recent decades. Loss is most pronounced in the Southeastern Plains.

After increasing during much of the 20th century, forest cover in the eastern United States in recent decades has resumed its previous decline, according to an exhaustive new analysis published in the April 2010 issue of BioScience.

Related Articles


The work is described in an article by Mark A. Drummond and Thomas R. Loveland of the US Geological Survey (USGS).

During the 19th century and earlier, forests were cleared for agriculture on a large scale, but from around 1920 onward, the eastern United States experienced a net increase in forest cover as fields were abandoned and trees regrew. Experts have been uncertain whether this trend has continued. Drummond and Loveland examined changes in the eastern part of the country from 1973 to 2000 as part of the USGS's Land Cover Trends project, using remotely sensed imagery as well as statistical data, field notes, and ground photographs. Over this time they found a 4.1 percent decline in total forest area, a "substantial and sustained net loss" equivalent to more than 3.7 million hectares. The researchers describe considerable regional variation, with net loss being particularly marked in the southeastern plains.

The net loss occurred even though reforestation of abandoned fields and pastures continues, in some regions more than others. Most net forest loss occurs as result of mechanical disturbance of forests for timber production, which keeps some land free of forest, and as a result of urban expansion, which is generally a permanent change. Mountaintop removal for mining in the Appalachian highlands has also had a "substantial impact" on eastern land cover, contributing more than 420,000 hectares of net forest decline. The authors comment that their findings suggest forest transitions may not plateau and stabilize after reaching a point of maximum recovery, which "has important implications for sustainability, future carbon sequestration, and biodiversity."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Biological Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mark A. Drummond and Thomas R. Loveland. Land-use Pressure and a Transition to Forest-cover Loss in the Eastern United States. BioScience, (in press)

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Eastern US forests resume decline." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407094447.htm>.
American Institute of Biological Sciences. (2010, April 7). Eastern US forests resume decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407094447.htm
American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Eastern US forests resume decline." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407094447.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new product line will debut April 30, but it&apos;s not a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Myanmar&apos;s second biggest city of Mandalay and heads for China&apos;s Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — To put a roof over their heads and help the environment, residents near Bogota are building houses out of recycled bottles and old tires. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins