BOSTON A new study is warning that if left unchecked, the ongoing loss of forests in Massachusetts will undermine land conservation, threaten water quality and limit natural protections from the harsher aspects of climate change.
The two-year study released Wednesday by researchers at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution projects how the state’s forests could change over the a 50-year period under four different scenarios.
The researchers used computers to look at the state acre-by-acre and model changes over time for each of the scenarios.
The study concludes that best scenario for both Massachusetts residents and the natural environment is one where forests are actively managed and protected from encroaching development.
The study’s lead author Jonathan Thompson said the study is the first of its kind for an entire state.