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Socio-Demographic and Market Forces of Forest Land Use Change on the Northern Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee

Neelam C. Poudyal, Seong-Hoon Cho, Jeffery D. Strickland, Donald G. Hodges


This paper analyzes land use in the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee by bridging the broad socio-demographic and market force information at the census-block group level in conjunction with site-specific information of forest land use change at the pixel level. The study focuses on the classical von Thunen model and finds determinants of forest loss. The results indicate that the surface terrain, resident’s education level, market forces from urban centers in proximity, and distance to water streams, major transportation corridors are likely to affect the probability of conversion of forest into both agricultural and urban uses. Findings also suggest that the role of forest is changing from timber, fodder, and fiber toward amenity benefits on the Plateau.


Forest conversion, Low-density residential development, Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee

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