Deforestation Hill

Christian Beale

Forest Hill needs to get a name change… Considering the name isn’t suitable for the area anymore. Deforestation has increased dramatically in Forest Hill within the past few years, and it has even started to happen in my own neighborhood.

Houses are still going up in Blake’s Legacy, a new neighborhood adjacent from mine. Before the construction of the development, it was an entire forest. I used to hike in the woods and see all kinds of wildlife, dozens of fox, hawks, and deer. Now, there is almost nowhere for the animals to go and less than half of the forest remains. Replanting trees after a construction does not help as much as it should, and it takes years for them to grow back.

Harford County is a young forest. Most of its trees are only about 300 years old. A fox or two will occasionally walk across my backward and look right at me. Deer also walk down my street eating flowers planted in gardens. Animals are encountering too much human interaction. We are destroying their homes and territories as if it is no big deal. That is not right. After all, they were here before us. The government should be more worried about preserving the wildlife in Forest Hill than increasing commercial development.

The Aegis recently wrote an article about how an increase in money in the Rocks Spring area created a demand for services and commercial development. In the article, Tom Fidler, executive vice president at MacKenzie Commercial says, “There’s a need for more goods and services closer to your residence, diminishing the need to come into Bel Air.”

“Royal Farms is just another gas station and Forest Hill has plenty of them,” the 2015-2025 Maryland State Wildlife Action Plan states.

Since its colonization by European settlers four hundred years ago, the Northeast region continues to be the most densely populated region in the country. Across the state of Maryland, human encroachment on, and development of, important natural lands remain the primary and ever-increasing threats to SGCN. Examples of different types of land development include residential, commercial, and other types of buildings, with their associated roads and parking areas; energy production and mining operations; and transportation and service corridors.

All of these land development categories include the threat of habitat fragmentation, or the division of continuous habitats into smaller, isolated patches, in Maryland and throughout the Northeast region. To support the survival of both terrestrial and aquatic SGCN, we must take action to decrease the impact of these activities and to address the overall need for better planning, research, and surveys.

An awareness of the many, varied threats presented by major forms of human development and land conversion is crucial for understanding our evolving responsibilities in conservation. If Maryland continues mass commercial and residential development, it will lose the wildlife that many Marylanders cherish.