January 09, 2013
US Forest Service report forecasts natural resource management trends and challenges for next 50 years
"A comprehensive U.S. Forest Service report examines the ways expanding populations, increased urbanization, and changing land-use patterns could profoundly impact natural resources, including water supplies, nationwide during the next 50 years. Significantly, the study shows the potential for significant loss of privately-owned forests to development and fragmentation, which could substantially reduce benefits from forests that the public now enjoys including clean water, wildlife habitat, forest products and others...The 2010 Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment summarizes findings about the status, trends, and projected future of forests, rangelands, wildlife and fish, biodiversity, water, outdoor recreation, wilderness, and urban forests, as well as the effects of climate change upon these resources. The outlook for U.S. resources is largely influenced by a set of scenarios that have varying assumptions about global population and economic growth, global wood energy consumption, U.S. population and economic growth, land use change, and global climate change from 2010 to 2060. Four key themes from the findings are (1) land development will continue to threaten the integrity of natural ecosystems, (2) climate change will alter natural ecosystems and affect their ability to provide goods and services, (3) competition for goods and services from natural ecosystems will increase, and (4) geographic variation in resource responses to drivers of change will require regional and local strategies to address resource management issues. The results from this report will be useful to resource managers and policymakers as they develop strategies to sustain natural resources. "