February 13, 2013: As CPCs make decisions on preserving open space in your community, it may be helpful to know which are the most critical parcels to protect for wildlife habitat. Massachusetts conservationists now have a powerful new resource for land protection planning: a report on critical lands and species, tailored specifically to each city or town. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has prepared these customized conservation priorities, available here.
These reports paint a comprehensive picture of the critical lands and species in your community through maps and land cover analyses. Color maps based on the BioMap2 classifications (Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape) show where these priority areas lie, and highlight where they overlap. A full list of "Species of Conservation Concern" provides the names of the plants and animals in those priority areas, and their statuses (e.g. Endangered, Threatened, etc).
Parcel-level analyses describe the threatened and endangered species that live on the BioMap lands in your community, and other components of each parcel's ecological value. For example, an 3,000 acre Critical Natural Landscape region may be listed as a Coastal Adaptation Area, Wetland Core Buffer, and a Tern Foraging Area. Readers unfamiliar with these terms will find their definitions within the analysis. More information on the BioMap2 methodology and components is available in the first half of the report.