This report provides an overview of expected housing density changes and related impacts to private forests on America’s islands in the Pacific and Carribbean, specifically Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The vulnerability of island forests to conversion for housing development, introduction and spread of invasive species, and risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, among other concerns are discussed. The maps and projections suggest that in localized areas from 3 to 25 percent of private forest land is likely to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030. Resource managers, developers, community leaders, and landowners should consider the impacts of housing development and invasive species on ecosystem services in coming decades.
America’s private forests harbor thousands of species – from butterflies, bears, birds and bats; to salmon, snails and salamanders that inhabit streams and wetlands; to flowers, trees and shrubs that feed and protect wildlife and enrich human lives. Many native animals and plants found in private forests nationwide are at risk of decline or extinction, in part because of impacts of increasing housing development. The effects of development on at-risk species on private forests are intensified by additional impacts from fire, insects and disease.