VT Parcelization website

Recent trends illustrate the phenomenon of parcelization (the subdivision of land into smaller and smaller pieces and multiple ownerships) is gaining momentum in Vermont.

Vermont is the third most forested of the lower 48 states with approximately 4.6 million acres of forestland. Despite being so heavily forested, for the first time in over a century Vermont is actually losing forest cover due to parcelization, subdivision, and the subsequent development of land.

When land is broken up into smaller parcels from parcelization and subdivision, the result is typically an increase in the number of parcels with housing and infrastructure such as roads, septic and utility lines. When this development occurs, it “fragments” the landscape and can affect plant and animal species, wildlife habitat, water quality and recreational access. It can also affect the contiguous ownership and management of forest parcels, and thus the viability of large tracts of forestland to contribute to Vermont’s rural economy and working landscape.

In order to minimize the effects of parcelization and fragmentation, it is helpful to understand where it is occurring, and the rate at which it is occurring. To respond to this need, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and natural resource professionals developed this website to investigate parcelization rates in Vermont between 2004 and 2016 at the town, county, Regional Planning Commission, and statewide levels. The website provides a certain focus on data related to forests, but you can utilize the tools, resources and reports on this website to better understand overall how land use change is impacting your region, county, or town.

A. Blake Gardner