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Land Conservation Tools

This portal website compiles land conservation information sources and tools developed by a variety of organizations that are available to guide the decision making of Massachusetts practitioners. We have summarized the resources and organized them in different ways to help you more easily choose the ones best suited to your conservation needs.

The resources can be filtered by: 

(1) Conservation Tasks: Some resources are more suited to supporting certain conservation purposes, such as applying for or awarding grantsland stewardship, land (open space) protection, assessing landscape connectivity and public outreach.

(2) Conservation Phases: Some resources are better suited to certain stages of the conservation process: 

  • Motivation: Increasing awareness of conservation needs and inspiring people to engage in conservation planning and action.
    For example, using NELF Explorer to see how different patterns of land development and land conservation could affect the New England landscape.

  • Assessment: Using conservation data to better understand the landscape and create a blueprint for action.
    For example, using data from MassCAPS to inform the development of your own land conservation plan.

  • Plan: Adopting a conservation blueprint to guide action.
    For example, adopting BioMap2, that uses data from MassCAPS and other sources, to guide your land conservation efforts.

  • Action: Implementing actions such as habitat management or land protection.
    For example, using MAPPR to identify specific parcels for strategic land conservation.


Awareness and inspiration leading to a Plan and Action


Analysis and data generation to inform a Plan


Selecting a blueprint to guide Action


Specific implementation measures

This website is part of a University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension project studying how these information sources and tools are used by those engaged in land protection and stewardship, with a particular focus on forest conservation with a climate adaptation lens. We hope that our work increases and improves the use of these resources through building practitioner awareness and understanding, influencing resource outreach efforts and informing future versions of the resources, with the ultimate aim of improving the prospects for ecosystems. To learn more about our work and see other outputs associated with this project, please visit the Resources section of this website. To learn more about terminology used in this website, see the Glossary. We encourage you to provide feedback that will help us refine this website. Please email Scott Jackson, University of Massachusetts Extension, 

Explore the Tools

The below dropdown filters can help you explore and identify the land conservation tools most appropriate for different conservation tasks and phases:

Adaptation Workbook website
The Adaptation Workbook helps identify and tailor climate adaptation actions for given land management goals, with a focus on forests, agriculture and natural resources, at a location of interest in the Northeast or Midwest.
Motivation, Assessment, Plan
BioMap2 is designed to guide strategic biodiversity conservation by focusing land protection and stewardship on the areas that are most critical for ensuring the long-term persistence of rare and other native species and their habitats, exemplary natural communities, and a diversity of ecosystems, in Massachusetts.
DSL - Designing Sustainable Landscapes
Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) provides data and assessments for strategic habitat conservation, by assessing the ecological integrity of ecosystems, evaluating regional connectivity, assessing risk of development, and modeling climate niche and landscape capability for key wildlife species in the Northeast.
MAPPR - Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience
Plan, Action
Mapping & Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) is a decision support tool informing parcel based land conservation prioritization decisions in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Climate Action Tool
Assessment, Action
The Massachusetts Climate Action Tool provides access to information on climate change impacts and vulnerability of species and habitats, as well as adaptation strategies and actions to help maintain healthy, resilient natural communities, with a focus on Massachusetts.
MassCAPS - Massachusetts Conservation Assessment & Prioritization System
MassCAPS (Massachusetts Conservation Assessment & Prioritization System) calculates an Index of Ecological Integrity (IEI) based on human impacts and landscape characteristics, to highlight examples of ecosystems that are likely to maintain their natural composition, structure and function over time, in Massachusetts.
Nature’s Network
Assessment, Plan
Nature’s Network is a suite of decision-support tools and datasets, including a conservation design that depicts a network of connected, intact, and resilient areas -- both lands and waters -- that are considered the best places to begin strategic conservation planning to support a sustainable future for both human and natural communities across the 13-state Northeast region.
The New England Landscape Futures (NELF) Explorer is a scenarios-based mapping tool which compares potential future land use outcomes in New England.
Assessment, Plan
Resilient & Connected Landscapes highlights resilient areas of diverse geology and topography, and the nature of their connections, with national coverage (excluding HI and AK).