Skip to Main Content
A regional scale examination of the effects of land use change on the terrestrial carbon budgets of New England from 1700 to 2100 indicates New England has been a carbon sink since about 1900 because of agricultural land abandonment that began in the mid 1800s and subsequent forest regrowth. However, recent land use change for new development has resulted in forest loss in New England, reversing the previous trend of increasing forest area. Analysis of Landsat data from 1990 to 2005 shows consistent patterns of forest loss. Preliminary results of a bookkeeping carbon model indicate a net release of 207 TgC for the period 1700-2005. Since 1900, New England has been a carbon sink and will continue to be one until around 2075. The loss of forest area due to urban growth reduces the magnitude of the current sink and length of time New England will be a carbon sink.