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Canopy volume removal from oil and gas development activity in the upper Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania and New York (USA): An assessment using lidar data

Journal of Environmental Management

By:
ORCID iD , ORCID iD , ORCID iD , , and
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.05.041

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Abstract

Oil and gas development is changing the landscape in many regions of the United States and globally. However, the nature, extent, and magnitude of landscape change and development, and precisely how this development compares to other ongoing land conversion (e.g. urban/sub-urban development, timber harvest) is not well understood. In this study, we examine land conversion from oil and gas infrastructure development in the upper Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania and New York, an area that has experienced much oil and gas development over the past 10 years. We quantified land conversion in terms of forest canopy geometric volume loss in contrast to previous studies that considered only areal impacts. For the first time in a study of this type, we use fine-scale lidar forest canopy geometric models to assess the volumetric change due to forest clearing from oil and gas development and contrast this land change to clear cut forest harvesting, and urban and suburban development. Results show that oil and gas infrastructure development removed a large volume of forest canopy from 2006 to 2013, and this removal spread over a large portion of the study area. Timber operations (clear cutting) on Pennsylvania State Forest lands removed a larger total volume of forest canopy during the same time period, but this canopy removal was concentrated in a smaller area. Results of our study point to the need to consider volumetric impacts of oil and gas development on ecosystems, and to place potential impacts in context with other ongoing land conversions.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Canopy volume removal from oil and gas development activity in the upper Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania and New York (USA): An assessment using lidar data
Series title:
Journal of Environmental Management
DOI:
10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.05.041
Volume:
222
Year Published:
2018
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Leetown Science Center
Description:
10 p.
First page:
66
Last page:
75
Country:
United States
State:
New York, Pennsylvania
Other Geospatial:
Upper Susquehanna River basin