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Layer: Large Forest Patches (DEC) (ID: 37)

Name: Large Forest Patches (DEC)

Display Field: ID

Type: Feature Layer

Geometry Type: esriGeometryPolygon

Description: The base data set used in this forest fragmentation analysis is the 2010 C-CAP Land Cover Analysis (http:// Land cover categories that were considered 'forest' for this analysis include Deciduous Forest, Evergreen Forest, Mixed Forest, Estuarine Forested Wetland, and Palustrine Forested Wetland. Two buffered roads layers were erased from the forest polygons, in order to approximate the fragmenting effect of roads on the landscape. Because the area of interest crosses the boundaries of multiple states, the ESRI North America Detailed Streets layer ( was used. Two selections of the roads data were extracted and buffered: Interstate roads were buffered 150 feet from the center line in both directions, while US, State, and County roads were buffered 33 feet from the center line. The final data set is limited to forest patches falling within a 5 mile radius of either the Hudson River Estuary watershed boundary or the 10 counties of New York's Hudson Valley.The accompanying symbology layer divides forests into four size classes following the Orange County Open Space Plan (Orange County Planning Department 2004): Globally important (greater than 15,000 acres). These large and intact forest ecosystems support characteristic, wide-ranging, and area-sensitive species, especially those that depend on interior forest. Globally important forests are large enough so over time they will express a range of forest successional stages including areas that have been subjected to recent large-scale disturbance such as blowdowns and fire, areas under recovery, and mature areas. These forests also provide sufficient area to support enough individuals of most species to maintain genetic diversity over several generations. Regionally important: (6,000 - 14,999 acres). Patches 6,000 acres and greater provide habitat to more area-sensitive species and can accommodate large-scale disturbances that maintain forest health over time. Smaller patches are often less able to maintain the entire range of needed habitats and successional stages after large-scale disturbances. Locally important: 2,000 – 5,999 acres). These smaller but locally important forest ecosystems often represent the lower limit of intact, viable forest size for forest-dependent birds. Such bird species often require 2,500 to 7,500 acres of intact interior habitat. These forests, like the larger regionally important forests, can also provide important corridors and connectivity among forest ecosystems. Stepping stone forests: (200 – 1,999 acres) These examples of smaller forest ecosystems provide valuable, relatively broad corridors (not just a narrow strip) and links to larger patches of habitat such as local, regional, and global forests. These smaller forests, therefore, enable a large array of species, including wide-ranging and area-sensitive species, to move from one habitat to another across an otherwise hostile and fragmented landscape. They also provide important habitat at key times during many animals’ life cycles. These forests should be considered the absolute minimum size for intact forest ecosystems. Forests as small as 200 acres will support some forest interior bird species, but several may be missing, and species that prefer “edge” habitats will dominate. Forest patches less than 200 acres have lesser ecological significance at the landscape scale and were excluded from the symbology layer, However, smaller forests may have local importance, and can be viewed by changing the symbology settings.

Copyright Text: Cornell University Department of Natural Resources 2014. This Project was funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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