Environmental Management

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 483–492 | Cite as

Hot Spots of Perforated Forest in the Eastern United States

  • Kurt H. RiittersEmail author
  • John W. Coulston


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 nonforest land-cover types contained in those hot spots. 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 a spatial 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 hot spots 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.


Ecological assessment Forest fragmentation Scan statistic Spatial pattern 



Funding was provided by the Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment Staff and Forest Health Monitoring Program of the US Forest Service, and by the Landscape Ecology Branch of the US Environmental Protection Agency through an Interagency Agreement (DW12939283-01-0). The MRLC Consortium supplied the land-cover data, and computing facilities were provided by the Center for Landscape Pattern Analysis. Mention of tradenames does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA Forest ServiceSouthern Research StationResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of ForestryNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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