By Grey Lee
Take a look at this great resource (download the full report).
Congratulations to Mass Audubon for producing this valuable document and maintaining the ongoing survey! We hope to continue in partnering to advocate for sustainable communities throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.
We have more resources regarding sustainable neighborhood development at our main website.
Losing Ground: Planning for Resilience (Fifth Edition)
Patterns of Development and Their Impact on the Nature of Massachusetts
2005 – 2013
- From April 2005 to April 2013, approximately 38,000 acres of forest or other undeveloped land were converted to development in Massachusetts, translating to a pace of 13 acres per day through this 8-year period. Nearly 50,000 acres of forest were lost during this time period, with some developed and some cleared. Open land, including bare land, low vegetation, and agriculture, increased by approximately 10,000 acres.
- The rate of development is down from the rate of 20 acres/day reported in the fourth edition of Losing Ground (1999-2005) and 40 acres/day reported in the third edition (1985-1999). However, the current period of analysis includes the years of the Great Recession when development slowed dramatically. New housing permit data suggest that development will be trending back up towards previous rates.
- Nearly 41 acres/day were protected in the same time frame, totaling 120,389 acres or nearly 10% of all land that has ever been protected in MA.
- More than 3 acres of land were protected for every acre developed between 2005 and 2013. This is up from a 2:1 ratio from 1999-2005.
- 1.1 million acres of the state are now developed, or roughly 22% of the state. Over 1,250,000 acres are now permanently protected in MA, or just over 25% of the land area of the state. More than 2.8 million acres, or 53% of the land in the state, is neither developed nor protected. Of this, over 1.5 million acres (30% of the state) have been identified as being of high conservation value inBioMap2.