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Parcelization and Land Use: A Case Study in the New York City Watershed

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Over 75% of the New York City Watershed is forested, and the majority of the land is owned by family forest owners. Ownership fragmentation and development may impact both the working forested landscape and water quality. We surveyed the owners of intact and subdivided family forest parcels across various parcel sizes to gauge their awareness of forest management practices and to assess the potential property-level impacts of their activities on water quality. To support the landowner survey, we used field data on forest stocking and timber quality gathered at each property. Results indicate that owners of large parcels (>50 ac) had significantly higher water quality awareness scores than did owners of small parcels and were more likely to have a written forest management plan. Full-time resident owners were more likely to engage in practices that may negatively impact water quality more directly, such as adding structures and a driveway, which increases impervious surface area and associated runoff, and using additives on their lawns, which can add nutrients and chemicals to surface water.

Keywords: family forests; forest management; ownership fragmentation; watershed management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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