A regional approach to siting drilling infrastructure in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale is needed to help minimize development in core forest and productive agricultural lands and to decrease potential risk to waterways, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University. A study conducted by the university's College of Agricultural Sciences found that shale gas development is causing rapid landscape change. "The development of new roads to support drilling could affect forest ecosystem integrity via increased fragmentation," said Patrick Drohan, assistant professor of pedology. Drohan estimated that slightly more than half of the well pads in Pennsylvania are on agricultural land and most of the rest are on forestland. The study found that drilling is competing with food production for space on the landscape.
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