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Low access forests and their level of protection in North America

Identifies relatively undisturbed forest blocks in Canada and the United States, providing maps that show their size, condition and current levels of protection.

Key Findings

Executive Summary

This paper presents the results of a map-based analysis of the location and status of North American forests (excluding Mexico) that remain mostly undivided by roads and other access routes, so-called low-access forests. It provides a regional look at where large tracts (larger than 200 square kilometers) of low-access forest are located, as well as an assessment of the degree to which these tracts are currently protected.

Because of data limitations (for example, the analysis does not factor in the presence of logging roads), these results create only a coarse picture, at a continental scale, of the location and status of large, low-access forest tracts.

The results are useful for identifying forests that, due to their limited development, offer opportunities for expanding protected area networks and/or for restoration, as well as priority areas for future mapping to characterize intact forests at finer scales.

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