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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

Daniel G. Brown photo

Land Use and Forest Cover in Private Parcels in the Upper Midwest USA, 1970-1990

Publication Abstract

Brown, Daniel. 2003. "Land Use and Forest Cover in Private Parcels in the Upper Midwest USA, 1970-1990." Landscape Ecology, 18(8): 777-790.

This paper analyzes the interactions between land use and forest cover in the Upper Midwest, USA from 1970 to 1990. New data are presented and interpreted to evaluate the effects of land-use changes, especially abandonment of agriculture and dispersed development, on forest cover throughout the region. Forest-cover data were collected from Landsat satellite imagery and land use was interpreted from aerial photographs for land parcels, based on archival maps of land ownership. In general, forest cover increased throughout the region and throughout the period. Simultaneously, the area used for agriculture declined, much of it being converted to natural uses, and the area of land in low density residential development increased. Forest cover increased most rapidly on low density residential lands and in counties in which a large percentage of homes were for seasonal use (i.e., vacation homes). The data suggest that the transformation of the region from an extractive (i.e., forestry and agriculture) to a recreation-based service economy has played a significant role in the increasing forest cover observed throughout the region.

DOI:10.1023/B:LAND.0000014470.16973.cb (Full Text)

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