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Risks

Understanding how the flow of ecosystem services to people changes with societal and environmental change is crucial to conserving these benefits.

As in other regions, long-term changes in Appalachian temperature and precipitation patterns also change the capacity of landscapes to provide ecosystem services to people.
The development of coal, gas, and wind energy resources and the physical infrastructure that supports them drive rapid landscape change at large scales in the Appalachian region.
When invasive or pathogenic plant and animal species alter the structure and function of ecosystems, the services those ecosystems provide are also affected.
Urban and exurban development are among the strongest drivers of landscape change in the Appalachians, and the conversion of land to these uses is expected to continue at a rapid pace.
Appalachian wildland fires can locally impact ecosystem services, and changes in forest characteristics driven by activities such as fire suppression have modified these effects.