US forests face threat from development

Sally Collins: The trend in terms of urban development, suburban development, exurban development, or whatever you want to call it, people getting second homes and moving into forested areas, is converting a lot of forested land into parking lots, roads and other developments.

Sally Collins, associate chief of the U.S. Forest Service, is talking about development in U.S. forests. She said that America is losing 6,000 acres of open land – much of it forested – to development each day.

Sally Collins: And I guess part of what our concern is that there are ecosystem services that flow off forested landscapes.

For example, forests help sequester carbon, which helps regulate global temperatures. Plus about a third of U.S. drinking water comes from forest land.

Sally Collins: We’re worried that we’re starting to lose some of those really important resources if we don’t figure out how to create incentives for landowners to keep their forested land forested. There are a lot of incentives for landowners to convert their land. Primarily financial, as they get older and look at transferring ownership. You know, people really have to think about, can I afford to keep this land?

Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.

Our thanks to
Sally Collins
Associate Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

September 15, 2008

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