If you’ve ever doubted the importance of what you do in the economy and greater world, paste this on your computer: You connect the American populous to nature. Never underestimate how important your role and the managed landscape has in that job.
From 1992 to 2001 the distance to the nearest forest from any point in the United States increased by 1/3 mi. (about 1,780 feet). The loss of forests and forest fragments is changing the urban and rural landscape in ways that are not yet fully understood. What we do know, however, is that the role of the managed landscape is surging.
Properly designed, installed and managed, landscapes provide biodiversity, secure soils, infiltrate water to recharge aquifers, cool the climate and provide vital connection to nature—and that’s just a few of the benefits.
The authors of “Forest dynamics in the U.S. indicate disproportionate attrition in western forests, rural areas and public lands,” published in PLoS One, are calling their measurement the “forest attrition distance” to directly reflect the loss of forest fragments. In analyzing satellite data over a 10-year period, they found that an area of forest the size of Maine disappeared from the U.S. The metric they are specifically quantifying in their PLoS One paper is to give attention to forest patches and their importance to wildlife.
While some biologists question the need for yet another urbanization/loss of habitat benchmark, no one disagrees that as we continue to march toward greater and greater urbanization, natural landscapes are disappearing at an ever-faster rate.
New York TimesPLoS One
NewTerrain March 15, 2017