In this study, we present a coarse‐scale, first approximation of the geographic areas where privately owned forests support at‐risk species in the conterminous United States. At‐risk species are defined as those species listed under the US Endangered Species Act or with a global conservation status rank of critically imperiled, imperiled, or vulnerable. Our results indicate that two‐thirds of the watersheds in the conterminous US contain at‐risk species associated with private forests, with counts ranging from one to 101 species. Those watersheds with the greatest number and density of such species are found in the Southeast, Midwest, and west coast states. Many private forests are threatened by land‐use conversion. Those forests projected to experience the greatest increase in housing density within the next 25 years, and with relatively high densities of at‐risk species, are found in over 100 watersheds, most of them in the Southeastern states.
- Marcos D Robles, Curtis H Flather, Susan M Stein, Mark D Nelson, and Andrew Cutko