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Changes in the Extent of North Carolina Barrier Island Maritime Forests 1988‐2011: An Assessment of Past Efforts at Protection

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Maritime forests on coastal barrier islands, which provide both ecological and economic benefits to the communities living in and around them, are some of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. In this study, we conducted a thorough assessment of all extant maritime forests on barrier islands in North Carolina using a geographic information system (GIS) and field verification techniques. We then compared the results with a previous assessment from 1988 to determine changes in the extent of barrier island maritime forest cover in the state. Approximately 36% of the 1988 forest cover had been lost over the 23-year period, and more than 98% of the total loss occurred on privately held land. We reviewed past policy approaches aimed to protect barrier island maritime forests in North Carolina and examined possible approaches to protect the remaining tracts.

Keywords: forest loss; maritime forest; policy; private ownership; public ownership

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2013

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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