Forests on the Edge
America's private forests are changing. Many are located at the edges of growing towns and cities, or in prime recreation areas popular for second-home development. Increases in housing density and associated development (such as power lines, septic and sewer systems, and shopping centers) can be linked to: Decreases in native fish and wildlife and their habitats. Changes in forest health. Reduced opportunities for outdoor recreation. Reduced water quality. Altered hydrology. Greater loss of life and property to wildfire. Changes in traditional uses of forests. Decreases in the production of timber and other forest products. Forest on the Edge results indicate that many private forests — particularly in the East, where most private forests occur — are likely to see substantial increases in housing development in the next three decades. Over 44 million acres of private forest are projected to experience increased housing development by 2030. Local jurisdictions and states can plan and target efforts to prevent or reduce conversion of some of their most valuable forest lands to keep our private working forests resilient and productive long into the future.