Conserving the MESA-listed species and Priority Natural Communities of the Commonwealth involves two main components:
- Protection of habitats from development or other anthropogenic alterations
- Management of habitats, especially on protected land, from other threats, such as invasive species, fire suppression, or succession to mature forest
In Massachusetts, many organizations and agencies, from international conservation groups to state agencies to local land trusts, are committed to protecting land as open space. NHESP provides information to help planning for biodiversity-related land protection in several ways by involvement in the DFW land protection process, by developing land protection and conservation tools such as BioMap2, and by providing site-specific biodiversity information to conservation organizations and agencies when requested.
However, land protection by itself is not sufficient for long-term conservation of biodiversity in Massachusetts. Some MESA-listed species and Priority Natural communities need direct intervention to remove invasives or restore and improve habitats. The Habitat Restoration Program focuses on sites of exceptional ecological significance identified by Natural Heritage on public lands under permanent conservation protection. The program works to restore ecological processes that have historically helped to maintain the biodiversity at these sites, and to control invasive exotic plants that threaten our native species.