Drawing from human ecology, the present study sheds light on the ways in which urbanization drives changes in forest cover at the local level across the continental United States. Using county-level data from the National Land Cover Database and other US governmental sources, the area of forest cover lost in the construction of the built environment between 2001 and 2006 is regressed on the size, density, and social organization of a locality. Controlling for several other factors, estimates from spatial regression models with two-way fixed effects show that increasing density slowed down deforestation, while variables representing size and social organization had the opposite effect. Based on these results, urbanization is framed as a multidimensional human ecological process with countervailing impacts on the natural environment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science