U.S. Forest Service scientists have released an assessment that shows forest land has expanded in northern states during the past century despite a 130-percent population jump and relentless environmental threats. According to the Forests of the Northern United States report, forest coverage in the United States has increased by 28 percent across the region.
Remote-sensing techniques can make forests more productive, offsetting increased carbon-dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere and oceans, according to Dr. Randolph Wynne, a NASA investigator and Virginia Tech professor of forest biometry and geomatics.
An Associated Press article looks to New York state forests for examples of forest management that improve the landscape's ability to provide a numer of ecosystem services. "North America's growing forests of the past century or more have been credited by scientists with absorbing as much as half of the manmade carbon that otherwise would be in the atmosphere," according to the article.
"Maintaining the extent and condition of the urban forest through programs and policy is important, but canopy cover goals are useful in and of themselves. They set a target for a community that is measurable, observable and appealing....Whether it is 30 percent or 50 percent, setting a community tree canopy goal is a worthwhile course of action for any urban area." --Steven Scott, State Forester of Tennessee
Foresters in Georgia are using GIS to combine the historic distribution of the once plentiful American Chestnut trees with maps of topography, climate, soil and other factors. The result is a sophisticated analysis of a region that shows where the big trees once flourished across the state and hopefully where Castanea dentata might thrive again.
The Texas Forest Service said Wednesday that the initial results of the first detailed statewide tree count in Texas history indicates that the state ranks second to Alaska in forestland. Texas has about 23 percent of the forestation in the southern U.S. with 60 million acres of forest land.
The Oregon Board of Forestry voted in June to open up to 70 percent of Oregon's state forests to clear cuts. Environmentalists charge that increasing the cut will endanger habitats, while struggling timber counties argue the new management plan will provide more timber revenue and create jobs.
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