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Status and Trends: LISS Environmental Indicators

Type of Indicators: Health/Condition Response/Performance Socio-Economic Historical/Background

Changes in Forest Cover in CT & NY

  • Coastal Area Forest Data
  • NY & CT Forest Data
  • Historical Forest Data

Forested Coastal Area
Year Sq.  Mi.
1985 393.2
1990 381.5
1995 373.4
2002 361.2
2006 356.8
 Forested Area in CT and  NY
CT NY
Year Sq. Mi. Sq. Mi.
1985 3111.4 569.7
1990 3008.8 548.8
1995 3008.8 548.8
2002 2962.0 536.9
2006 2927.1 532.1
Historic % Forest Cover in CT
Year % Forest
1620 95.0
1700 69.0
1790 35.0
1820 25.0
1840 47.0
1860 29.0
1880 32.0
1890 35.0
1900 38.0
1910 41.0
1914 47.5
1940 58.5
1953 63.8
1972 59.6
1985 58.5
1992 58.3
1998 59.6

 

Status

According to research from the University of Connecticut’s Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR), forested land in the late 20th and early 21st century declined by 6 percent n New York and Connecticut from 1985 to 2006. In the coastal area it declined by 9.25 percent.  The CLEAR research also indicates that about two-thirds of forested land is fragmented —areas which are compromised by non-forested land.

The loss in forested area from 1985 to 2006 in Connecticut alone (184.3 square miles) is more than the areas of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, and Wilton combined.

Historic Information

From the 1600s through the 1800s, forest area decreased as land was cleared for agriculture, housing, and industry. In the 1900s, many farms were abandoned and the trees grew back. This resulted in a large increase in the amount of forest area for about 100 years.

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