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Private Forest Habitat for At-Risk Species: Where Is It and Where Might It Be Changing?

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Owned by individuals, families, corporations, and other private groups, private forests account for almost 60% of all forestland in the conterminous United States and provide critical habitat for wildlife, including over 3,700 at-risk plant and animal species. Extensive areas of private forest and other land covers have experienced increased housing development in recent years, with numerous implications for wildlife conservation. Twenty-eight percent of all private forests are under corporate ownership and provide important wildlife habitat. In some areas of the country, large amounts of private forest under corporate ownership are being sold and, in some cases, subdivided, with consequent implications for at-risk species conservation. Sponsored by the US Forest Service, the Forests on the Edge (FOTE) project uses geographic information systems to identify areas across the United States where private forests provide important services that might be detrimentally affected by increased housing and other threats. This article presents the results of FOTE research on the importance of private forests in general, and corporate forests in particular, to at-risk species. It also identifies areas across the country where future housing development on private forests could further reduce wildlife habitat. Results indicate that private forests and private corporate forests in the West Coast states, parts of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, as well as interior areas of the Southeast provide habitat for a large number of at-risk species and that these areas are also among those where private forests are most likely to experience increased housing development.
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Keywords: at-risk species; corporate forest; housing development; private forest

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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