2000 Population Density
as a Predictor of Logging Activity

The Indicator

Increasing population density can affect timber supply by a shift in forest management objectives as well as by direct conversion of forested land to developed areas. For example, management for timber production may shift to management of forests as residential or park settings when population density increases. Land clearing accompanies this transition and may provide timber products, but only in the form of a one-time cutting called a terminal harvest. More land-use conflicts over timber management in remaining woodlots accompany this trend, adding to the difficulties for forest management created by smaller tract size and decreasing forest contiguity.

To develop this indicator, population density derived from year 2000 census data was overlaid on forest cover from the National Land Cover Data set.

Indicator Use

This indicator, based on population density, highlights forested areas that are more likely to support sustainable commercial timber activities and those areas that are more suited for other forest-based uses, such as soil and water conservation/protection, wildlife habitat, recreation, etc. It paints a bleak picture for timber availability for Marylandís forest products industry. Only the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland are likely to have significant amounts of timber available for commercial management. Maintenance of the viability of the forest products industry can become a factor in local government planning affecting population density in a way analogous to efforts to protect agriculture.

Socioeconomic Assessment | Criterion 6 | Data & Indicators | Home