Environmental assessment hot spots of perforated forest in the eastern United States
National assessments of forest fragmentation satisfy international biodiversity conventions, but they do not identify specific places where ecological impacts are likely. In this article, we identify geographic concentrations (hot spots) of forest located near holes in otherwise intact forest canopies (perforated forest) in the eastern United States, and we describe the proximate causes in terms of the non-forest land-cover types contained in those hotspots. Perforated forest, defined as a 0.09-ha unit of forest that is located at the center of a 7.29-ha neighborhood containing 60–99% forest with relatively low connectivity, was mapped over the eastern United States by using land-cover maps with roads superimposed. Statistically significant (P<0.001) hot spots of high perforation rate (perforated area per unit area of forest) were then located by using as patial scan statistic. Hot spots were widely distributed and covered 20.4% of the total area of the 10 ecological provinces examined, but 50.1% of the total hot-spot area was concentrated in only two provinces. In the central part of the study area, more than 90% of the forest edge in hotspots was attributed to anthropogenic land-cover types, whereas in the northern and southern parts it was more often associated with seminatural land cover such as herbaceous wetlands.