NORTH CAROLINA'S GREEN COVER
North Carolina will lose 2 million
acres of open land by 2027
Forest cover and farmland reduce
due to development in North Carolina.
2 May, 2007: Here is sad news for
all lovers of nature and a grim
warning to the powers-that-be.
Environmental groups have warned that
North Carolina, the United States,
will lose 2 million acres of farmland
and forests over the next 20 years as
so-called development continues to
spread across the state.
North Carolina has already lost almost
2.4 million acres of open land (about
325 acres a day) over the past two
decades, according to a report based
on federal data by Environment North
Carolina and Land for Tomorrow.
The two groups urged state leaders to
develop long-range plans to protect
open land in the future, and support
legislation that would use a
$1-billion bond issue to finance
The projections were based on
development rates in North Carolina in
the past 20 years, using data from the
US Census Bureau and the federal
Natural Resources Conservation
Developed land in the state of North
Carolina went up by 65% over the last
two decades, compared to a population
growth of 40%. In the next 20 years,
developed areas will rise by 38% while
the population grows by 30%.
Data reveals that North Carolina’s
larger urban areas will suffer
significant losses – cropland will
disappear entirely in the Triangle as
it loses 37% of its natural areas,
while the Charlotte area will lose 30%
of its undeveloped spaces.
Kate Dixon, director of Land for
Tomorrow, praised the state’s recent
agreement to buy Chimney Rock Park for
$24 million from private owners and
its role, in March 2006, in buying
over 77,000 acres in eastern North
Carolina from International Paper.
However, she said more concerted,
long-range efforts are needed to
protect open land in the future.
The environmental groups demanded
support of legislation to create a
referendum on a $1-billion bond issue
to fund preservation of land, water
and historical sites.
The money would be used to buy
farmland, forests, stream and river
buffer property, and historical sites
through state trust funds that are
already being used to pay for
preservation all over the state.
The Natural Heritage Trust Fund has
announced $12.3 million in grants to
preserve over 6,800 acres. The
projects include $4 million to the
Department of Environment and Natural
Resources to help buy property at four
natural areas, and $4.8 million for
the Wildlife Resources Commission to
help buy some of the former
International Paper land and three
The legislation on bond funding would
create and finance a new programme
called ‘landing jobs’ to promote jobs
and other economic opportunities
related to protected properties.