Landscape Pattern Analysis Reveals Global Loss of Interior Forest
Forests provide indispensable ecosystem services, but Forest Service scientists and partners estimated a recent global net loss of more than 660 million square miles of forest. In addition to the direct loss of forestland, researchers discovered a global loss of more than 14 million square miles of interior forest, meaning that remaining forests have shifted to a more fragmented condition and are at risk for loss of critical habitat and ecological functions. Across the globe, temperate coniferous forests experienced the largest percentage of loss, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests lost the most interior forest, and boreal forests and taiga lost interior forest at the highest rate. The scientists note that the reasons for losses, and therefore the consequences, depend on local circumstances. Human activities and land use changes that result in permanent deforestation have a much greater impact than temporary deforestation from natural disturbances, such as a fire. The results of this study can help managers identify areas of concern.
A global evaluation of forest interior area dynamics using tree cover data from 2000 to 2012
Forest Service Partners