Development could devour nearly 2 million acres of North Carolina’s cropland and forestland over the next 20 years, according to a report by the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center.
By Rhonda Reinhart
Researchers based their predictions on the state’s development rates over the past 20 years. During that time, the report says, North Carolina lost almost 2.4 million acres of open land. That’s 325 acres a day. The study also shows that developed land in the state has increased by nearly 1.9 million acres since 1987.
Environment North Carolina hopes the report, which can be read at www.environmentnorthcarolina.org, will be an eye opener for lawmakers and is supporting the Land and Water Conservation Bond Act, a plan that would allow $1 billion to be spent over the next five years on protecting the state’s resources.
“These predictions about our vanishing forests and farmlands are based on trends of the past,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, director of Environment North Carolina. “But North Carolina lawmakers still have the chance to protect our state’s most important natural areas for the future.”