Updates from the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut Highlands

Forests

Forests are a vitally important part of the Highlands landscape. They provide myriad ecosystem services from wildlife habitat to water resource protection to recreation. Forested habitat creates corridors for wildlife, and many species thrive where large intact forests remain. In the heavily populated northeastern US, forests provide critical air and water quality services for the community by filter and absorbing pollutants. And forests have an essential role in the sequestration of carbon as we aim to reduce our global climate change impact. In the Highlands, much of the forest has been fragmented by hundreds of years of human habitation. Still, large portions of forest cover remain including 66% of the CT highlands. In Pennsylvania, much of the state’s forest land is owned by private individuals, and actively managed forests are harvested by small operators. The US Forest Service’s assessment of the Highlands used three key elements: Forest soil productivity based on soil type and tree species, forest cover (presence /absence), and a scaled ranking of interior (large) forest areas according to size: (>5,000 acres; 1,000 to 5,000 acres; 100 to 500 acres; 25 to 100 acres).

Facts and Figures