Thursday, March 23, 2006
Sprawl and Forest Cover
Development in northwestern New Jersey has caused less loss of forest cover than in southwestern New Jersey. This is one of the findings in the recent paper by Kristi MacDonald and Tom Rudel, from Rutgers’Cook College's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and the Department of Human Ecology, respectively. Titled "Sprawl and forest cover: what is the relationship?", the paper explains the difference by the fact that concern for protections of view sheds and the difficulties and hazards of building on slopes led northwestern municipalities to largely protect forested uplands at the price of increased housing cost for the area.
In southwestern municipalities the lack of "scenic amenities", as they term it, caused developers and towns to site primarily with convenience to major roads as a priority. This eliminated more equally forest and farmland, little of which was protected. The study also finds that some developed areas have gained modest amounts of forest cover in recent years.