Socioeconomic Changes and Forestland Development: Commonalities and Distinctions between the Eastern and Western United States

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Impacts of rural land development on natural resources in the United States have been well documented and research on rural land development provides important inputs to land conservation policy and program development. Although numerous land-use studies have been completed for the western and eastern states, still lacking is a single study examining changes in population, housing, and land development in the two regions. To provide context for natural resource and land conservation programs and policies, we quantify recent and long-term changes in population and housing, rural development rates, and land-use transitions involving forests for the eastern and western regions. Relative to the West, the East has a more evenly distributed population and has experienced greater population increases, rates of land development, and forestland conversion. We discuss these patterns of population growth and land development in the context of natural resource policies and forestland goods and services.

Keywords: US regions; forestland loss; population growth; rural development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • 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.
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