- Briggs, Nathan A.
University of Maine Graduate School
Conversion of forestland is a reality in Maine as growing human populations are exerting development pressures on privately owned forests. Specifically, forestland in the Lower Penobscot and Lower Kennebec watersheds is predicted to face high conversion pressures. Knowledge of forest cover dynamics and human pressures on the forest are vital to making decisions concerning future land use. Modern remote sensing techniques and geographic information systems enable the accurate tracking of forest change and the integration of social, demographic, and biophysical data.
We succeeded in gaining a baseline understanding of how the forest in the Midcoast Maine study area has changed, and what role the relative influence of a variety of factors played in conversion to developed uses. Identification of primary drivers of conversion at the landscape scale is relevant for our approach, but future studies should focus on local level analysis using land use zoning and other restrictions to improve planning for sustainable growth and municipal budgets needed to support additional infrastructure and services.