Wooded area in Iowa declining - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wooded area in Iowa declining

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Tree cover in Iowa is declining.

2013 marks the first time since 1974 Iowa has lost more woodland acres than it has gained. Officials at the USDA Forest Service said this is likely due to increased agricultural and urban land usage.

Total, wooded space in Iowa has dropped by 40,000 acres.

"Where pastures were left idle, we were gaining acres back for the last 30-40 years," said Joe Herring, a North-Central Iowa District Forester. "Until this most recent analysis came out. Now we're back down below where we were in the 70s, so that is fairly significant to us."

Before it was settled, Iowa had an estimated 6.8 million wooded acres. At its peak, about 18 percent of the state was covered by trees and greenery.

Now, Iowa is only about 3 percent woodlands.

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