Land use changes in areas surrounding wilderness

A screen capture of a map of the U.S. with wilderness areas outlined in green.

In the next half century America’s population will grow by 50 percent, and so too will the demand for food, feed, water, fiber and energy development. Urbanization will lead to more roads, more pollution, and more noise. In order to protect wilderness areas it is important that we identify where land use change will have the greatest impacts and define what those impacts are, such as degradation of air and water quality, introduction of nonnative species, rise in visitor use pressures, and impacts to species habitat and migration. Impacts will be most acute on wilderness areas that are small in size or adjacent to non-federal lands. See this story map to visualize expected land use change from urbanization near wilderness areas.