Contemporary land-use change and impacts on natural systems are of concern throughout the Cornbelt region, where agricultural activities have extensively altered the landscape. Land-use changes driven by urbanization throughout this region could have a disproportionate impact on remaining natural areas, particularly forests. We used readily available data sets and software to assess land cover change for four municipalities in Iowa and to examine the usefulness of this approach for urban foresters and planners interested in understanding/predicting impacts of land cover change. Urban land cover increased by 28-80% in the communities we examined, primarily because of transitions from grassland and cropland. Although net increases in forest cover occurred in three study areas, significant losses of mature forest cover were masked by transitions of grassland and wetland to early successional forests and by canopy closure within urban land cover types. These analyses could be useful to inform land-use change decisionmaking.
Authors and Publishers
Bowman, Troy A.
Thompson, Jan R.
Tyndall, John C.
Anderson, Paul F.
The profession of forestry started to take hold in the United States in late 1800s. In 1889, George Vanderbilt hired Gifford Pinchot (pictured at right), a young forester educated in Europe, to manage the forest at the Biltmore Estate. It was the nation’s first professionally managed forest.
In 1891 Congress passed the Forest Reserves Act, which created a reserve of 40 million acres of forestland in the United States. Six years later in 1897, Congress passed the Organic Act, which served as the basis for management of the newly created forest reserves.