Changes in land use, forest ownership, parcel size, and fragmentation in forests of the U.S. South
Using U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data, we examined changes in land use, ownership, parcel size, and parcel level in the U.S. South. Over a nominal 10-year period (2001 to 2011), 93.8 percent of the acreage did not change land use. Forest was the most common type and there was a small net gain of forested acreage. Of the forested acreage, 85.4 percent did not change ownership type. Families were the most common ownership type, and there was a small net loss of family-owned lands—primarily to corporate ownerships. Of family-owned forest acreage, 7.6 percent consisted of parcels that reduced in size by more than 100 acres, and 17.5 percent consisted of parcels that decreased in forest area density (i.e., became more fragmented). Increases in forest area density were more prevalent than fragmentation. In all States other than Arkansas, family forest acreage became on average more parcellated and less fragmented.