Forest Land Loss
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Forest Lands in 1986.
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The land category to lose the greatest number of acres was forest which lost 42,452 net acres (66.3 sq miles) statewide from 2002 to 2007. Looking across the entire 21 year study period, New Jersey lost a net of 114,921 acres (180 sq mi) of upland forest between 1986 and 2007 representing a 7% loss.

Forest loss has been so significant during this time period that by 2007 urban land surpassed forest land as the most prominent land type covering the state. As of 2007, the Garden State had more acres of subdivisions and shopping centers than it had upland forests, including forests in the Pinelands and all New Jerseyâs parks and reserves combined.

Forest is a dynamic land cover and both losses and increases (such as a farm field reverting to forest) can be seen in the animation. The map viewer progresses through the four time periods with forested lands depicted in green. The animation concludes with the total forest loss specifically to urban growth over the entire 21 year study period, depicted in red. The map shows that there are some major hotspots of deforestation to urban growth in Ocean County, Monmouth County, and central Gloucester County as well as along the entire coastal inland region with some significant losses also in the stateâs north-central region.

The loss of forest areas has important ecological repercussions. Habitat areas and movement corridors are diminished and disrupted when forest stands are broken into smaller and non-connecting sections. Many species that rely on large blocks of uninterrupted forest core for habitat may be adversely affected by its reduction.