Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Fragmentation of Continental United States Forests

Author(s):

James D. Wickham
Robert V. O'Neill
K. Bruce Jones
Timothy G. Wade
Jonathan H. Smith

Year:

2002

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Southern Research Station

Source:

Ecosystems (2002) 5: 815-822

Description

We report a multiple-scale analysis of forest fragmentation based on 30-m (0.09 ha pixel-1) land- cover maps for the conterminous United States. Each 0.09-ha unit of forest was classified according to fragmentation indexes measured within the surrounding landscape, for five landscape sizes including 2.25, 7.29, 65.61, 590.49, and 5314.41 ha. Most forest is found in fragmented landscapes. With 65.61-ha landscapes, for example, only 9.9% of all forest was contained in a fully forested landscape, and only 46.9% was in a landscape that was more than 90% forested. Overall, 43.5% of forest was located within 90 m of forest edge and 61.8% of forest was located within 150 m of forest edge. Nevertheless, where forest existed, it was usually dominant-at least 72.9% of all forest was in landscapes that were at least 60% forested for all landscape sizes. Small (less than 7.29 ha) perforations in otherwise continuous forest cover accounted for about half of the fragmentation. These results sug- gest that forests are connected over large regions, but fragmentation is so pervasive that edge effects potentially influence ecological processes on most forested lands.

Citation

Riitters, Kurt H.; Wickham, James D.; O''Neill, Robert V.; Jones, K. Bruce; Smith, Elizabeth R.; Coulston, John W.; Wade, Timothy G.; Smith, Jonathan H. 2002. Fragmentation of Continental United States Forests. Ecosystems (2002) 5: 815-822

Publication Notes

  • 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.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/5196