Study shows housing development on the rise near national forests

Oct 25, 2007

America’s national forests and grasslands provide the largest single source of freshwater in the United States, habitat for a third of all federally listed threatened or endangered species, and recreation opportunities for people (about 205 million visits are made annually to national forests).

These and other benefits could be altered by increased housing growth. The population of the United States is projected to increase by 135 million people between 2000 and 2050. Americans are moving closer to national forests and other public lands because of the amenities they provide. As a result, housing density is expected to increase on more than 21.7 million acres of rural private lands located within 10 miles of national forests and grasslands by 2030, according to a recent study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

“Forests, farms, ranches, and other open spaces are rapidly being developed as more people are choosing to live at the urban fringe and in scenic, rural areas,” says Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell. “This development is affecting our ability to manage national forests and grasslands as well as our ability to help private landowners and communities manage their land for public benefits and ecosystem services.”

The recently released, National Forests on the Edge: Development Pressures on America’s National Forests and Grasslands, provides information on rural residential development to private landowners and communities as they work to manage and conserve open space.

Some of the findings in the report are:
Nine national forests and grasslands are projected to experience substantial increases in housing density on at least 25 percent of adjacent private land; the Bitterroot National Forest in Idaho and Montana ranks highest in this category.

Almost all eastern national forests are may experience high to moderate increases in adjacent housing density. Private lands bordering national forests in Colorado, northwestern Montana, northern Idaho, California, and Oregon are also projected to experience moderate to high increases.

Thirteen national forests are projected to experience substantial residential development on more than ½ million acres of adjacent, currently rural, private lands. Most of these national forests are located in southern states and in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions.

Source: USDA Forest Service

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warming climate has consequences for Michigan's forests

Apr 11, 2014

In the last 100 years, Michigan has become warmer, with more rain coming through heavy downpours. Climate models suggest that the state will continue to warm and variability in precipitation patterns will ...

Forests crucial to green growth

Mar 21, 2014

The value of forests and tree-based ecosystems extends far beyond carbon sequestration; they are the foundation of sustainable societies.

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.