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Conservation of rare species & communities

Conservation of rare fish, wildlife and plant species and increasing the resistance, resilience or transformation of vulnerable forest types and exemplary vegetative communities.

Nature’s Network

Nature’s Network
Developers: 

A team of scientists facilitated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Year released/updated: 
2017
Summary: 

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.

Geographic scope: 
Conservation phases: 
Forest conservation goals
Climate adaptation interests
Most suitable for: 
Also good for: 
Products: 
Requirements: 

A reasonable amount of time is required to become familiar with the online mapping platform options. Access to, and familiarity with, GIS is required to explore downloaded data.

Additional details: 

Nature’s Network is a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and representatives from all 13 Northeast states, using innovative modeling approaches developed by UMass Amherst and other science partners, to identify the best opportunities for conserving and connecting intact habitats and ecosystems and supporting imperiled species, to help ensure the future of fish and wildlife across the Northeast region. Nature’s Network offers a regional landscape conservation design and a suite of decision-support tools that makes available much of the state-of-the-art modeling done by the Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) project at UMass Amherst. The web mapper interface presents a huge variety of customizing options, that frequent users will familiarise themselves with and use. Nature’s Network incorporates, DSL Ecological Integrity MetricsDSL-Conductance, and Resilient & Connected Landscapes. Elements of Nature’s Network include:

  • Terrestrial and Wetland Core Network: Intact, well-connected places that, if protected, will support a diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants, and the ecosystems they depend upon. Core areas are linked together by a network of connectors designed to enable the movement of animals and plants between core areas and across the landscape into the future.
  • Habitats for Imperiled Species: This contains three datasets: Habitat Importance for Imperiled Species, Core Habitat for Imperiled Species, and Habitat Condition for Imperiled Species.
  • Aquatic Core Networks: This includes three data layers: River and stream (lotic) core network, Lake and pond (lentic) core network, and Aquatic buffers.
  • Marsh Migration Zones: This dataset depicts potential salt marsh migration zones at various sea level rise scenarios from 0-6 feet. Identification of suitable uplands adjacent to tidal wetlands is based on topography, habitat type, land use, and development, and can be used for facilitating marsh migration through land protection and/or management.
  • Regional Flow: This dataset, developed by The Nature Conservancy, identifies where population movements and potential range shifts may become concentrated or where they are well dispersed, and it is possible to quantify the importance of an area by measuring how much flow passes through it, and how concentrated that flow is. The results can be used to identify important pinch points where movements are predicted to concentrate, or diffuse intact areas that allow for more random movements.

Some elements of Nature’s Network, such as the Terrestrial and Wetland Core Network, represent a regional plan for conserving wetland and terrestrial biodiversity. Other components, such as Habitats for Imperiled Species and Marsh Migration Zones, can be used as inputs for creating conservation plans at the local, state or regional scales.

The developers have compiled testimonials from Nature's Network users.

Learn more about the terms used in this tool profile from the Glossary.

MAPPR - Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience

MAPPR - Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience
Developers: 

Mass Audubon

Year released/updated: 
2016
Summary: 

Mapping & Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) is a decision support tool informing parcel based land conservation prioritization decisions in Massachusetts.

Geographic scope: 
Conservation phases: 
Forest conservation goals
Climate adaptation interests
Products: 
Requirements: 

Readily usable with minimal time, knowledge or technical requirements.

Additional details: 

Mapping & Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) allows land conservationists to identify the parcels within an area of interest that are the highest priorities for protection based on habitat quality, climate change resilience, water resource protection, parcel size and adjacency to existing protected parcels. MAPPR uses a variety of data sources to help prioritize parcels for conservation, including BioMap2, a precursor to Resilient & Connected Landscapes, and Critical Linkages Priorities (DSL-Conductance). There are four pre-calculated models, or a user can create a customized prioritization by selecting individual factors of importance.

 Learn more about the terms used in this tool profile from the Glossary.

BioMap2

Developers: 

MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, The Nature Conservancy

Year released/updated: 
2010 (BioMap3 is in development with release scheduled for 2022)
Summary: 

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.

Geographic scope: 
Conservation phases: 
Forest conservation goals
Climate adaptation interests
Most suitable for: 
Also good for: 
Products: 

Online map viewers (on the BioMap2 website, and through MassGIS/OliverMAPPR - Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience and Resilient MA), Town reports with a map, and GIS data via MassGIS/Oliver.

Requirements: 

The online map viewers and town reports are readily usable. Access to, and familiarity with, GIS is required to explore downloaded data.

Additional details: 

BioMap2 is a conservation plan that uses both a species-based (fine-filter) and ecosystem/landscape-based (coarse-filter) approach that takes into account known occurrences of species of conservation concern and landscape analyses of habitat value and ecological integrity. It combines MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program’s (NHESP) 30 years of rigorously documented rare species and natural community data with spatial data identifying wildlife species and habitats that were the focus of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife’s 2005 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). BioMap2 also integrates The Nature Conservancy’s assessment of large, well-connected, and intact ecosystems and landscapes across the Commonwealth, incorporating concepts of ecosystem resilience to address anticipated climate change impacts. The landscape analyses use customized versions of CAPS (Conservation Assessment & Prioritization System) assessments to identify vernal pool cores (clusters), forest cores, wetland cores, aquatic cores, and landscape blocks.

The BioMap2 product consists of two polygon-based datasets, one for Core Habitat and another for Critical Natural (Supporting) Landscape. Core Habitat identifies key areas to ensure the long-term persistence of rare species, other Species of Conservation Concern, and exemplary natural communities and intact ecosystems. Critical Natural Landscape identifies large natural landscape blocks that are minimally impacted by development, as well as buffers around some Core Habitats, both of which enhance resilience. Although BioMap2 used many of the same data that were used to identify Priority Habitat by NHESP, the Priority Habitat maps were created for a regulatory purpose (Massachusetts Endangered Species Act), and BioMap2 is the preferred information source for conservation planning and action.

Learn more about the terms used in this tool profile from the Glossary.

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