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    Author(s): Ralph J. Alig; Eric M. White; Sara J. Comas; Mary Carr; Mike Eley; Kelly Elverum; Mike O'Donnell; David M. Theobald; Ken Cordell; Jonathan Haber; Theodore W. Beauvais
    Date: 2007
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-728. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 26 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (5.0 MB)


    Many of America’s national forests and grasslands—collectively called the National Forest System—face increased risks and alterations from escalating housing development on private rural lands along their boundaries. National forests and grasslands provide critical social, ecological, and economic benefits to the American public. This study projects future housing density increases on private rural lands at three distances—2, 3, and 10 miles—from the external boundaries of all national forests and grasslands across the conterminous United States. Some 21.7 million acres of rural private lands (about 8 percent of all private lands) located within 10 miles of the National Forest System boundaries are projected to undergo increases in housing density by 2030. Nine national forests are projected to experience increased housing density on at least 25 percent of adjacent private lands at one or more of the distances considered. Thirteen national forests and grasslands are each projected to have more than a half-million acres of adjacent private rural lands experience increased housing density. Such development and accompanying landscape fragmentation pose substantial challenges for the management and conservation of the ecosystem services and amenity resources of National Forest System lands, including access by the public. Research such as this can help planners, managers, and communities consider the impacts of local land use decisions.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Stein, Susan M.; Alig, Ralph J.; White, Eric M.; Comas, Sara J.; Carr, Mary; Eley, Mike; Elverum, Kelly; O''Donnell, Mike; Theobald, David M.; Cordell, Ken; Haber, Jonathan; Beauvais, Theodore W. 2007. National forests on the edge: development pressures on America''s national forests and grasslands. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-728. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 26 p


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    Land use change, national forest, housing density, road density, ecosystem services, amenity resources, amenity migration, housing development, planning

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