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Private Forests, Public Benefits:
Housing Development and Other Pressures on Private Forest Contributions

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This report is one of several produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service as part of the Forests on the Edge project. It displays and describes information at a national level that can improve understanding of forest land development issues.

Key Points Covered

  • Areas nationwide where private forests make substantial contributions to clean water, timber volume, habitat for at-risk plant and animal species or interior forests
  • Where private forest contributions are likely to change because of increased housing density
  • Locations where change from increased housing density is likely to be exacerbated by other factors such as insect pests and diseases, wildfire, or air pollution
  • Private forest lands that are making the most important contributions are also facing the greatest pressures in certain areas throughout the country

Top 15 watersheds in terms of total acreage of private forest projected to experience increased housing density
Table of effected watersheds

Study Results

Private Forests, Public Benefits has identified areas where the following goods and services will be most affected by future forest land development:

Private Forest, Public Benefits also identifies areas where the impacts of future development could be exacerbated by the following threats:

Private forests are experiencing increases in housing density in every region of the United States. With the U.S. population projected to increase by at least another 80 million people by 2030, forest resource managers should anticipate and prepare for continued development pressures on the Nation's private forests.

Housing along Forest


Stein, S.M.; McRoberts, R.E.; Mahal, L. G.; Carr, M.A.; Alig, R.J.; Comas, S.J.; Theobald, D.M.; Cundiff, A. 2009. Private Forests, Public Benefits: Increased Housing Density and Other Pressures on Private Forest Contributions. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-795. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 74 p.