Fredericksburg Tree Cover Withers
The GWRC reports that the George Washington Region, including Fredericksburg, Stafford, Caroline and King George counties, is the “region with the fastest growing population in Virginia for more than the last 20 years.”
In its study, the GWRC compared the 1996 population and tree cover data with comparable 2009 data to determine land cover changes throughout the region.
The 13-year period shows that population continued to increase while tree cover continued to decline throughout the region.
Fredericksburg alone lost an estimated 807.5 acres of trees, a 27.64 percent decline, while the population increased by 9.06 percent.
However, this concept is not unique to Fredericksburg. Because of the increase in population, new forces like sprawling development and an increase in the amount of impervious surfaces, including parking lots, sidewalks and roads, are altering forest ecosystems throughout the state every day.
The United States Department of Agriculture forest service reports that while “forests now cover 58 percent, or 24 million acres, of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the watershed loses 100 acres of forestland each day.”