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UMass Extension Research Project

The UMass Amherst Extension research team received a McIntire-Stennis Capacity Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the resources used by Massachusetts organizations to inform their forest conservation decision making. The project ran 2019-2022.

The project targeted information sources, mapping products and other tools (resources) that had been developed to support decision making for forest protection (permanent land conservation) and forest stewardship (land management) in a climate adaptation context.

The study aimed to understand how these resources were used (or not used) by forest conservation practitioners, and we expected that our work would help inform future resource design and outreach, and ultimately improve the prospects for our forests.

We hope that this Land Conservation Tools website and the two tool comparison summary products (At a Glance, and Exploring Climate Adaptation - which can be found on the website home page and in the menu bar on the left hand side of this page) help land conservation practitioners to efficiently and effectively continue their important work.

Please find below several summaries associated with this research:

  • Overall project summary: A summary and reflection on the Massachusetts land conservation tools research project.
  • Initial survey of practitioners: We conducted an initial survey to better understand how these land conservation tools are used by Massachusetts forest conservation practitioners. An overview of the initial survey and its findings is presented here.
  • Focus groups with initial survey participantsWe conducted focus groups to expand upon our initial survey results and further our understanding of how these land conservation tools are used by Massachusetts forest conservation practitioners. An overview of the focus groups and their findings is presented here.
  • Follow up surveys of practitioners: We conducted two follow up surveys to assess how the use of these land conservation resources may have changed since the initial survey. An overview of Surveys 2 and 3 and their findings, including comparison to the initial survey data, is presented here.

Thanks for your interest in our work. For further information or to provide feedback, please contact us at

Scott Jackson, Extension Professor

Melissa Ocana, Climate Adaptation Coordinator

Ezra Markowitz, Assistant Professor

Lee Halasz, Master’s student

Andrea Mah, PhD student

Nisch Neupane, Master’s student

Brendan Clark, and other UMass Amherst undergraduate students