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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Housing Growth In and Near Protected Areas

Housing growth rate 1940-2000 within 50 km of each national forest, national park, and wilderness area within the conterminous United States. Susan I. Stewart, Forest ServiceSnapshot : NRS researcher Susan Stewart and cooperators at the University of Wisconsin and Oregon State University analyzed housing data from 1940 to 2030, within and surrounding each national park, national forest and wilderness area.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Susan I. Stewart 
Research Location : nationwide
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 204

Summary

America's public lands include some of the most scenic and highly valued resources in the country and thus attract nearby housing growth. NRS researcher Susan Stewart and cooperators at the University of Wisconsin and Oregon State University analyzed housing data from 1940 to 2030, within and surrounding each national park, national forest and wilderness area. They found that 28 million new housing units had been built within 50 km of protected areas and that 40,000 new houses were added within national forest boundaries. During the 1990s, housing growth averaged 13 percent nationally, but grew at 20 percent within 1 km of protected areas. If these long-term trends persist, another 17 million housing units will be built within 50 km of protected areas by 2030, greatly diminishing their conservation value. Concern about the integrity of protected areas has focused on developing nations, where resource use pressure taken off a protected area can intensify pressure on surrounding lands. In the U.S., our demands on resources are typically for scenic vistas and proximity to trails; this research alerts resource managers, state and local planning authorities, and conservationists that when houses are built to satisfy these amenity demands, forests are fragmented, habitat lost, migration corridors disrupted, and biodiversity reserves isolated.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • USGS, Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Outdoor Recreation
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