Forecasts of county-level land uses under three future scenarios: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment
Accurately forecasting future forest conditions and the implications for ecosystem services depends on understanding land use dynamics. In support of the 2010 Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, we forecast changes in land uses for the coterminous United States in response to three scenarios. Our land use models forecast urbanization in response to the population and economic projections defined by the scenarios and consequences for various rural land uses. Urban area is forecasted to expand by 1 to 1.4 million acres per year between 1997 and 2060. Forest area is forecasted to decline by 24 to 37 million acres and cropland is forecasted to decline by 19 to 28 million acres over this period. About 90 percent of forecasted forest land losses are found in the Eastern United States with more than half in the South.