One of the advantages of unconventional drilling is that much more acreage can be developed off of one well pad, resulting in far less surface disruption. The following two pictures illustrate this principle.
The left picture is approximately 7.2 square-miles located in Clearfield County. This acreage has over 140 shallow conventional wells on it resulting in significant surface disruption and forest fragmentation.
The right picture is the same acreage developed using unconventional methods. With only nine well pads, the 7.2 square-mile area is fully developed. Each of the lines represents a horizontal well originating from one of the nine well pads (indicated by parenthesis).
Unconventional layout courtesy of CONSOL Energy Inc.