Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Ralph J. Alig; Andrew J. Plantinga; David Haim; Maribeth Todd
    Date: 2010
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-815. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 98 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.38 MB)


    This study updates an earlier assessment of the past, current, and prospective situation for the Nation’s land base. We describe area changes among major land uses on the U.S. land base for historical trends from 1982 to 2002 and projections out to 2062. Historically, 11 million acres of forest, cropland, and open space were converted to urban and other developed uses from 1992 to 1997 on nonfederal land in the contiguous United States. The national rate of urbanization increased notably compared to the 1982-92 period. The largest percentage increase was in urban use, which grew by 10 percent or 7.3 million acres between 1997 and 2001. Forest land was the largest source of land converted to developed uses such as urbanization. Urban and other developed areas are projected to continue to grow substantially, in line with a projected U.S. population increase of more than 120 million people over the next 50 years, with population growth the fastest in the West and South. Projected increases in population and income will, in turn, increase demands for use of land for residential, urban, transportation, and related uses. Area of nonfederal forest-land cover in the United States is projected to decline over the next halfcentury, with a 7-percent reduction by 2062. Projected increases in urban and developed uses will likely intensify competition for remaining land between the agricultural and forestry sectors. Reversions to forest land have generally been from grassland used as pasture. All three major land use classes - cropland, forest land, and grassland - have lost area to urbanization, and that trend is projected to continue.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Alig, Ralph J.; Plantinga, Andrew J.; Haim, David; Todd, Maribeth. 2010. Area changes in U.S. forests and other major land uses, 1982 to 2002, with projections to 2062. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-815. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 98 p.


    Google Scholar


    forest area, forest-land area, land-use shifts

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page