An analysis of forest land use, forest land cover, and change at policy-relevant scales
Quantifying the amount of forest and change in the amount of forest are key to ensure that appropriate management practices and policies are in place to maintain the array of ecosystem services provided by forests. There are a range of analytical techniques and data available to estimate these forest parameters, however, not all ‘forest’ is the same and various components of change have been presented. Forest as defined by use and forest as defined by cover are different, although it is common for scientists and policy makers to infer one from the other. We compare and contrast estimates of forest land cover, forest land use, extent and change at policy-relevant scales in the southeastern US. We found that estimates of forest land use extent and forest land cover extent were not significantly correlated. Estimates of net change based on forest land cover and forest land use were only moderately correlated and net change estimates were independent of gross forest cover loss estimates.