A new analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) of two counties in Pennsylvania found that natural gas extraction creates "potentially serious patterns of disturbance on the landscape." Wellpads, roads, pipelines and waste pits are clearcuts in forests. Cumulatively they are very destructive to the natural ecosystem.

According to the USGS: "Changes in land use and land cover affect the ability of ecosystems to provide essential ecological goods and services, which, in turn, affect the economic, public health, and social benefits that these ecosystems provide." Habitat fragmentation decreases a forest's "abilty to support viable populations of individual species."

The bottom line for the USGS: "Agricultural and forested areas are being converted to natural gas extraction disturbance" and the effect is "substantial." You can find all the data and analysis in the USGS paper on line, but to see what the data mean in real life, this photo is worth a thousand words:

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Photo source: Landscape consequences of natural gas extraction in Bradford and Washington Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004–2010: U.S. Geological Survey

Sadly, Pennsylvania is not the only place where wildlife habitat is being destroyed by oil and gas production. Here is another example, from Wyoming:

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Courtesy: EcoFlight