February 2011

Download these layers
The BioMap2 self-extracting zip file available here contains a collection of 13 shapefiles. There is one shapefile for each of the two components of BioMap2, “Core Habitat” and “Critical Natural Landscape”. Each component is made up of a collection of sub-components, as described below. Six shapefiles isolate the sub-components that make up Core Habitat. Five shapefiles isolate the sub-components that make up Critical Natural Landscape. An ArcGIS 9.3 Layer File is included for symbolization and labeling.

Overview

The Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and The Nature Conservancy’s Massachusetts Program developed BioMap2 in 2010 as a conservation plan to protect the state’s biodiversity. BioMap2 is designed to guide strategic biodiversity conservation in Massachusetts over the next decade 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.

The summary document is available for download from NHESP . There is also an interactive map available online that allows exploration of BioMap2 data.

Components of BioMap2:

  • BioMap2 Core Habitat identifies specific areas necessary to promote the long-term persistence of Species of Conservation Concern (those listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act as well as additional species identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan), exemplary natural communities, and intact ecosystems.
  • BioMap2 Critical Natural Landscape was created to identify and prioritize intact landscapes in Massachusetts that are better able to support ecological processes and disturbance regimes, and a wide array of species and habitats over long time frames.

BioMap2 uses specific data and sophisticated mapping and analysis tools to spatially define each of these components, calling on the latest research and understanding of species biology, conservation biology, and landscape ecology.

Usage

The legend that MUST accompany these datalayers on ALL maps is:
“NHESP/TNC BioMap2

Please note that Core Habitat polygons were designed for use at a regional or town scale. For accurate portrayal, the data should be displayed at scales of less than 1:25,000 (e.g., 1:30,000).

This datalayer is intended for conservation planning purposes only. It should not be used for regulatory purposes. The NHESP layers designed for regulatory use are produced in the Natural Heritage Atlas and include Priority Habitat and Estimated Habitat.

What NHESP Provides

BioMap2 comprises the following individual datalayers. The name of the shapefile and geodatabase layers are listed in parentheses, followed by the fields in each layer's attribute table.

BioMap2 Components

Core Habitat
Core Habitat is critical to the long-term persistence of rare species and other Species of Conservation Concern, as well as a wide diversity of natural communities and intact ecosystems across the Commonwealth. (BM2_CORE_HABITAT)

CH_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Core Habitat polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each Core Habitat polygon

Critical Natural Landscape
Critical Natural Landscape complements Core Habitat and includes large natural Landscape Blocks that provide habitat for wide-ranging native species, support intact ecological processes, maintain connectivity among habitats, and enhance ecological resilience; and includes buffering uplands around coastal, wetland, and aquatic Core Habitats to ensure their long-term integrity. (BM2_CRITICAL_NATURAL_LANDSCAPE)

CNL_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Critical Natural Landscape polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each Critical Natural Landscape polygon

Core Habitat Sub-components

Forest Core
Forest Core identifies the best examples of large, intact forests that are least impacted by roads and development, providing critical habitat for numerous woodland species. (BM2_CH_FOREST_CORE)

CH_FC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Forest Core polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each Forest Core polygon

Species of Conservation Concern
This layer contains the combined BioMap2 footprint of all species listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act in combination with all non-listed species present in the State Wildlife Action Plan that were mapped. Individual species information is not identified in this layer. (BM2_CH_SPECIES_CONS_CONCERN)

CH_SOCC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each contiguous polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Priority Natural Communities
The Priority Natural Communities data set is maintained by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). The NHESP Natural Communities datalayer consists of polygons that represent the extent of various natural communities of biodiversity conservation interest in Massachusetts. These polygons are based on records of natural communities maintained in the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) database. Program scientists classify and delineate natural community polygons by analyzing "on-the-ground" field data and available information about the landscape (particularly topographic maps and aerial photographs). (BM2_CH_PRIORITY_NATURAL_COMMS)

CH_PNC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Priority Natural Community polygon
TYPE_DESC - This is a brief, general description of the natural community type
LOCAL_INFO- This is a brief statement on the specific occurrence of the community type represented by the polygon associated with the attribute table.
ACRES - Acreage of each Priority Natural Community polygon

BioMap2 Wetlands
BioMap2 Wetlands identifies important wetland habitat in Massachusetts. It is a combination of the Wetland Core analysis that identified the most intact wetlands in Massachusetts, the wetlands present within the Priority Natural Communities data layer, and several Oxbows identified as important wetland habitat. A more detailed description of the Wetland Core analysis is present in the summary document. Wetland Cores and Priority Natural Community wetlands sometimes overlap. (BM2_CH_BIOMAP2_WETLANDS)

CH_WET_ID - Unique ID assigned to each BioMap2 wetland polygon.
DESCRIP - Distinguishes Wetland Cores, Priority Natural Community wetlands, and Oxbows from each other.
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Aquatic Core
Aquatic core contains integrated and functional ecosystems for fish species and other aquatic Species of Conservation Concern. (BM2_CH_AQUATIC_CORE)

CH_AC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Aquatic Core polygon.
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Vernal Pool Core
The BioMap2 team used a GIS model developed by the University of Massachusetts Landscape Ecology Program to identify the top 5 percent most interconnected clusters of Potential Vernal Pools within each ecoregion. Each cluster of pools was then buffered to create vernal pool habitat areas to target for conservation that include the pools themselves and the surrounding habitat to allow for successful breeding, dispersal, overwintering, foraging, and migration. (BM2_CH_VERNAL_POOL_CORE)

CH_VPC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Vernal Pool Core polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each Vernal Pool Core polygon

Critical Natural Landscape Sub-components

Landscape Blocks
Landscape Blocks, the primary component of Critical Natural Landscapes, are large areas of intact predominately natural vegetation, consisting of contiguous forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and ponds, as well as coastal habitats such as barrier beaches and salt marshes. Pastures and power-line rights-of-way, which are less intensively altered than most developed areas, were also included since they provide habitat and connectivity for many species. (BM2_CNL_LANDSCAPE_BLOCKS)

CNL_LB_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Landscape Block.
ACRES - Acreage of each Landscape Block

Aquatic Buffer
The Aquatic Buffer identifies upland habitat adjacent to each Aquatic Core.
CNL_AB_ID, Long integer, Unique ID assigned to each Aquatic Buffer polygon. Each aquatic buffer includes and was applied to the Aquatic Core that is being buffered. (BM2_CNL_AQUATIC_BUFFER)

CH_AC_ID - Unique ID assigned to each Aquatic Core polygon (Core Habitat). These IDs were derived directly from those present in the Aquatic Core layer.
DESCRIP - Distinguishes upland buffer of Aquatic Core from the Aquatic Core polygon.
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Wetland Buffer
The Wetland Buffer identifies upland habitat adjacent to each of the wetlands delineated in BM2_CH_BioMap2_wetlands.
CNL_WB_ID, Long integer, Unique ID assigned to each Wetland Buffer polygon. Each Wetland Buffer includes and was applied to the Wetland
CH_WET_ID, String, 25, Unique ID assigned to each BioMap2 wetland polygon (Core Habitat). These IDs were derived directly from those present in the BioMap2 wetlands layer. (BM2_CNL_WETLAND_BUFFER)

DESCRIP - Field distinguishes upland buffer of wetlands, Wetland cores, PNC wetlands, and Oxbows
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Coastal Adaptation Analysis
The BioMap2 team examined the landward side of salt marshes to determine where these habitats might move to as sea levels rise. Undeveloped lands adjacent to and up to one and a half meters above existing salt marshes were identified, and included as Critical Natural Landscapes with high potential to support inland migration of salt marsh and other coastal habitats over the coming century. (BM2_CNL_COASTAL_ADAPT_AN)

CNL_AAA_ID - Unique ID assigned to each coastal habitat/upland buffer complex.
DESCRIP - Differentiates coastal habitats (DEP wetlands or Priority Natural Communities) from their upland buffer
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Tern Foraging
The foraging habitat of MESAlisted tern species extends from the breeding grounds up and down most of the Massachusetts coastline. (BM2_CNL_TERN_FORAGING)

CNL_TF_ID - Unique ID assigned to each tern foraging habitat polygon
ACRES - Acreage of each polygon

Additional References

NHESP has published a summary report and has produced an interactive web viewer associated with these datalayers:

Maintenance

The BioMap2 datalayers are static layers that were created in 2010. Future alteration or updates to these layers are not currently envisioned. These datalayers replace the older NHESP BioMap Core Habitat (BIOCORE_POLY) and NHESP BioMap Supporting Natural Landscape (BIOSNL_POLY) feature classes.

Last Updated 2/28/2011