EPA Report Highlights Forest Loss and Fragmentation


A house and roads in the forestBetween 2001 and 2011, the contiguous United States lost three percent of its forested land cover area, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest Report on the Environment (ROE). Along with this forest loss came more fragmentation when core forest--critical for sustaining biological communities and ecosystem services that require large, intact areas--decreased by 12.8 percent over the time period. These findings come from Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters' collaborative studies and analyses of the National Land Cover Database, which is updated every five years. Forest fragmentation is one of 85 indicators of environmental and human health changes described in the EPA ROE. Learn more about recent forest fragmentation across the nation and within each EPA region.

Pictured: Forest loss and fragmentation result from commercial and residential development in forested areas.


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