Falling Foliage

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Photo by David Foster

 There have been net gains in forest cover in North America in the last century, including in the northeast, but some of the gains have given way to recent rapid loss:

New England is losing 65 acres of forest a day

Harvard report pushes for renewed focus on conservation

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

New England is in danger of squandering its conservation “second chance,” according to the authors of a new Harvard Forest report.

The region, heavily deforested in colonial days, is today one of the most densely wooded in the world, thanks to forests that regenerated over the past 150 years as farms were abandoned for city life.

But that reforestation has peaked, and New England is now losing 65 acres of forest to development each day, the report says. In addition, funding for land conservation has fallen 50 percent since 2008, and the acreage conserved annually is also down, falling more than sixfold since the early 2000s, from 333,000 acres a year to about 50,000 acres a year since 2010.

“Peak forest cover is over in New England,” said Jonathan Thompson, a senior scientist at Harvard Forest and one of the report’s 31 authors. “For more than 150 years, forests expanded and regrew. That history is how we gained the status as among the most populated and most forested regions in the world.”…

Read the whole article here.

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