Too often, new subdivisions fragment the landscape rendering it incapable of supporting the rich diversity of flora and fauna that we currently enjoy, or limiting the functions that green infrastructure provides.
A 2006 study by the Delaware Forest Service (DFS) showed that between 2002 and 2005, more than 9,400 acres of forest were contained within areas approved for development. Unlike a change from forest to agriculture, where the area may return to forest in the future, development represents a permanent reduction in the forest land base.
Such losses lead to a corresponding loss of forest-dependent species (more than 40% of Delaware’s native floras are forest-dependent species). Currently, approximately 13 percent of Delaware’s forest has been displaced by urban areas. A recent study estimated that by 2050, 43 percent of Delaware’s forest land will have been subsumed by urban growth. In other words, in the year 2050, almost half of Delaware’s former forests will lie within the limits of new urban areas. Only four other states are expected to experience a greater degree of absorption of forest into expanding urban areas.