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Rare & exemplary communities

Increasing the resistance, resilience or transformation of rare and exceptional fish, wildlife and plant communities.

Massachusetts Climate Action Tool

Massachusetts Climate Action Tool
Developers: 

University of Massachusetts Amherst, MassWildlife, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Year released/updated: 
2017
Summary: 

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.

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

Web-based graphics and text, an online map viewer, and links to other tools and sources of information.

Requirements: 

Readily usable with minimal time, knowledge or technical requirements.

Additional details: 

The purpose of the Massachusetts Climate Action Tool (CAT) is to present research-based information about climate change impacts and the vulnerabilities of various fish, wildlife and habitat, and promote adaptation actions that can be taken at a local level. This information is paired with a map viewer to access online GIS data that was selected or synthesized to understand and respond to conservation challenges posed by climate change. The tool contains approximately 200 GIS layers as well as a wealth of information on climate-related stressors affecting Massachusetts, vulnerability assessments for over 60 species or groups of species, and a substantial list of adaptation actions ranging from forest management and land preservation to culvert replacement and dam removal.

The CAT was designed for users with limited mapping capacity, and features maps that incorporate BioMap2 and the CAPS (Conservation Assessment & Prioritization System) Index of Ecological Integrity (IEI), DSL (Designing Sustainable Landscapes) Conductance, as well as other spatial data. Species profiles include spatial data showing the current geographic distribution or habitat suitability for the species and, in many cases, projections for the future habitat suitability accounting for climate change. Spatial data can be explored using a web browser, but cannot be uploaded to, or downloaded from, the spatial data viewer, which includes links to data sources and additional information.

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.

Adaptation Workbook

Adaptation Workbook website
Developers: 

Northern Institute of Applied Climate Sciences (NIACS), US Forest Service

Year released/updated: 
2019
Summary: 

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.

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

Reports can be completed online or in hard copy.

Requirements: 

A reasonable amount of time and good knowledge of the land of interest.

Additional details: 

The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change, and to design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The process is completely flexible to accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems, land uses, management goals, and project sizes. The Adaptation Workbook walks users through a process for considering climate change impacts and identifying management actions that could be taken to directly adapt to climate change. This resource incorporates rigorous science, with information and “menus” of actions for forests (including urban forests) and agricultural lands. The output of the process is a comprehensive climate adaptation plan. This application is most useful for users with clear management goals and knowledge about their property or ecosystem of interest.

There are a large number of case studies that show how Adaptation Workbook has been used by forest conservation practitioners.

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

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