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Slowing urban sprawl, adding forests curb floods and help rivers
Date:8/19/2010

historical runoff rates. Predictions from the present through 2030 also were created using the model. Assumptions for those predictions were created by local governments, state agencies and non-governmental groups working around the Muskegon River based on their knowledge of development and other area trends.

The findings included some good news: Pijanowski found that the landscape in the Midwest has improved since rapid deforestation in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the best balance of urban and forested land since then occurring in the 1960s.

Rebuilding efforts after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 caused heavy deforestation. But the federal government reforested farmland that it took possession of in the Great Depression, leading to the balance observed in the 1960s.

"The past is the worst we'll ever see over a 140-year period. Even the worst-case scenarios show that the landscape won't be as bad as what we had in the 1890s and early 1900s," Pijanowski said. "The lesson here is that with time and care, these systems can be restored. Recovery is possible."

Pijanowski's future work will include examining the role landscape changes play in climate change and determining tipping points at which landscape changes impact rivers and streams.


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Contact: Brian Wallheimer
bwallhei@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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