Linking Population and Forest Dynamics over the Conterminous US for the 1990s and 2000s

Giorgos Mountrakis, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse, NY, 130210, USA, Sheng Yang
2021 Advances in Environmental and Engineering Research  
Few studies have investigated deforestation and population connections in the U.S. at large spatial extents or small scales. We examined forest cover changes over two decades, 1990-2000 and 2000-2010, in the continental U.S. at the county scale. Forest dynamics were estimated using the National Land Cover Database, a satellite-derived classification product and then linked to population data from the US. Census. At the aggregate level, high population growth seems to increase net forest loss in
more » ... a non-linear manner, especially in the 2000s. Counties were also ranked based on observed forest change when compared to counties of similar population change. Looking specifically at the county level, the majority of counties with low ranking (interpreted as disproportionate high forest loss for experienced population change) were in the south east region for both 1990s and 2000s. In 2000s, the entire east coast demonstrated low rankings, along with regions in the northwest (Oregon and Washington) and central north (Minnesota, northern Wisconsin/Michigan). While our study was not designed to group socioeconomic and environmental drivers, linking forest dynamics to population changes offers important insights and supports comparisons at the national scale. Future work should consider targeted regional analysis motivated by our results and multi-factor modeling.
doi:10.21926/aeer.2101003 fatcat:aqbxyjkwxjda3l7nr2nfws2jpi