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Parcelizing the Catskills

Parcelizing the Catskills

The Catskill Region’s 3.8 million acres are essentially a forest ecosystem and provide a plethora of essential ecosystem services. Clean, potable water flows by the force of gravity to 9 million N.Y.C. residents from six city owned reservoirs. The Delaware and Susquehanna River Basins provide fresh water to 15 million downstream residents in N.J., PA and MD. The region’s forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere, provide deep interior forest habitat needed by rare neotropical songbirds, an underutilized abundance of valuable hardwood timber, an easily accessible local foodshed and a variety of seasonal recreational activities for 23 million residents of the N.Y.C. metro area.

But the long term sustainability of these increasingly valuable natural services is in doubt. Slowly but steadily, parcelization, exurban development, second home construction and urban sprawl are supplanting productive farms and forests and creating new and greater demands for municipal services. This ominous trend may raise real estate values and taxes and reduce the feasibility of farming and logging, already under severe economic stresses, and compel farmers and non-industrial private forest owners, the traditional gatekeepers of open space, to sell their unprofitable holdings to their “highest and best use”.

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of the N.Y.C. metro area now exceeds 23 million, almost double that of 1950, and is expected reach 41 million by 2050.

The film, “Parcelizing the Catskills and the Boiled Frog Syndrome”, questions the sustainability of the traditional, vitally needed natural services provided by the Catskill Region.

The film includes 21 interviews of locally elected officials, environmental civil societies, land-use planners, relevant N.Y.S. and N.Y.C. agencies, farmers, loggers and other stakeholders in the region.
  • Details

    Parcelizing the Catskills is 75 minutes in length.
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