This brief contributes to a better understanding of the linkages between demographic and forest cover change so as to inform policy efforts aimed at maintaining existing forested areas in and around sprawling urban centers. Authors Mark Ducey, Kenneth Johnson, Ethan Belair, and Miranda Mockrin report that forest cover has declined throughout New England and New York over the last decade. In rural areas, forest loss is primarily due to commercial timber harvesting and represents a temporary change. Conversely, forest cover decline in urban areas is usually the result of development and is likely to be permanent. Forest cover change is strongly linked to demographic variables throughout this region. Forest cover loss is most pronounced along the urban fringe, where population growth is greatest. Amenity-rich rural areas are also experiencing high rates of population growth and regionally-high rates of forest cover loss. However, the causes of forest cover change in these areas are less certain. Forest cover change has the potential to impact ecosystem services important to both local residents and the larger region.

Publication Date

Spring 5-10-2016


National Issue Brief No. 99


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2016. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.