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Fragmentation of Continental Unites States Forests

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Abstract:We report a multiple-scale analysis of forest fragmentation based on 30-m land-cover maps for the conterminous United States. Each 0.09-ha unit of forest was classified according to fragmentation indices measured within the surrounding landscape, for five landscape sizes from 2.25 ha to 5314.41 ha. Most forest resided in fragmented landscapes. With 65.61-ha landscapes, for example, only 9.9 % of all forest was contained in a fully forested landscape, and only 46.9% was in a landscape that was more than 90% forested. Forest edge was located with 90 m of 43.5% of all forest, and within 150 m of 61.8% of all forest. Nevertheless, where forest existed it usually was dominant - 72.9% of all forest was in landscapes that were at least 60% forested for landscapes up to 5314.41 ha. Small (<7.29 ha) perforations in otherwise continuous forest cover accounted for about half of the fragmentation. These results suggest that forests are more or less connected over large regions, but also that fragmentation is so pervasive that edge effects potentially influence ecological processes over most forested lands.
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Citation:Riitters, K. H., J. D. Wickham, R. V. O'neill, K. B. Jones, E. R. Smith, J. W. Coulston, T. G. Wade, and J. H. Smith. Fragmentation of Continental Unites States Forests. ECOSYSTEMS 5(8):815-822, (2003).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Characterization Branch (RTP)
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 01/27/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Mrlc-Land Cover Mapping, Accuracy Assessment and Application Research
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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