On Tuesday, May 17, the USDA Forest Service and the Southern Group of State Foresters met to discuss how southern forests will change in the next 50 years. By 2060, southern forest land is expected to decrease by 23 million acres due to urbanization, bioenergy use, weather patterns, changes in land ownership, and invasive species.
In addition to the decrease in forest land, some other key findings were brought up in the meeting:
- Population growth will increase runoff and pollution, which will then decrease the amount of clean drinking water and will impact aquatic habitats
- More numerous and severe wildfires
- These wildfires will give rise to more problems for the community and forestry wildfire organizations
- Spread of plant, insect, and disease pests will negatively impact native species, forest productivity, and wildlife
- More than 1,000 plant and wildlife species of conservation will be threatened by climate change, urbanization, and invasive species
In Fall 2011, the Forest Service will release plans for forest management and conservation in five sub-regions of the south: Piedmont, Coastal Plain, Appalachian/Cumberland, Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and Mid-South. The regions are located in 13 southern states, which include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
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