Distributional differences in socio-demographic characteristics of residents in the fringe of federal protected lands
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This study examines the spatial distribution of federal protected lands in the contiguous United States and the changing socio-demographic characteristics of residents in fringe areas (counties and census block groups) surrounding these protected lands. Information from the census and protected area land databases were mapped together in geographic information systems. Protected areas were examined as per the World Conservation Union categories and the National Wilderness Preservation System lands were classified as per category A (strict preservation zone) areas with maximum protection and other protected lands were regrouped in category B, as areas with varying degrees of use and conservation. All counties and census block groups on the fringe of protected areas were examined for socio-demographic characteristics (race, education, occupation, and income). Counties were also examined temporally (1980, 1990 and 2000) to illustrate change. Multivariate statistical analysis was conducted to determine distributional differences between fringe areas and areas outside the fringe. Implications of this study address the need for understanding distributional differences in residents in fringe areas bordering protected lands. Understanding the socio-demographic characterization of residents in these areas will aid in future planning and management concerning these areas.