Report: More people will reduce Southern forests

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Population growth and urbanization could reduce the 200 million acres of forestland in the U.S. South over the next 50 years. The U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday released the results of a multiyear study on the future of forests in 13 states stretching from Texas to Virginia. The report says four primary factors will stress the region’s forestlands, most of which are owned by companies and individuals. Those factors are population, climate change, timber markets and invasive species. Population growth and urbanization are expected to reduce the amount of forestland in the South and stress other resources that forests depend on for survival. The study covers Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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