Landscape Context and Regional Patterns in Arkansas' ForestsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Abstract - Recent results from Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) surveys provided an opportunity to explore the spatial and temporal context for Arkansas’ forests, including associated range, recreation, water, and wildlife habitat resources. Noted were damage agents and multipurpose resource indicators: evidence of human-associated activities (harvesting, hunting, livestock grazing, restricted activity signs, trash dumping, etc.), land cover, forest ownership, forest fragmentation, forest type and stand-diameter class, and proximity to nonforest features. For comparison purposes, analysis was by ecological subregion (province and section): Mississippi Alluvial Basin, Western Mid-Coastal Plains, Arkansas Valley, Ouachita Mountains, Boston Mountains, and Ozark Highlands. I illustrated patterns in areas with maps of their location, tabular statistics of area frequency and change over time, and tree statistics relevant to wildlife habitat concerns. Findings noted pasture land dominating to the north, cropland uses to the east, and forest land to the west. Since the 1978 survey, continuing losses of shortleaf and increases in loblolly suggested the increased importance of remaining shortleaf stands. Some locales were prone to forest damage or more likely harvested, fragmented, grazed by livestock, disturbed by other human uses, or associated with specific forest-community types. Trash was most evident near roaded areas. Signs restricting activities associated with forests occurred in dense concentrations between extensively and sparsely forested regions. A cumulative habitat value index based on the proportion of earth (land and water) cover by community type, and weighted by 1988-to 1995 area change and community type replacement cost (in years), summarized the status, change, and landscape context. Since the 1988 survey, evidence suggested increased restricted access was the most important change. Tabular statistics summarized these and other differences by ecological subregion and selected multipurpose resource attributes.