Ecological integrity is important to fully describe the development of an economy. We calculated an aggregate index that quantifies the closeness of a forested region to a natural state. This naturalness index was based on the diversity of native tree species and sizes for ecological subregions in a seral condition. The index used the spatial–temporal array of sample plots from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database of the USDA Forest Service. In the 70 survey units of the southern US between 1961 and 2005 the naturalness of forests generally improved with per capita personal income and population. The increase with income was consistent with the hypothesis of an environmental Kuznets curve for forested landscapes.