To capture all the elements of biodiversity, BioMap2 approaches the conservation of Massachusetts’ biological resources at multiple scales. Thus, BioMap2 combines hundreds of individual pieces of geospatial data about the state’s species, ecosystems, and landscapes.
These elements of biodiversity falls into one of two complementary categories, Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape. Core Habitat identifies key areas to ensure the long-term persistence of species of conservation concern, exemplary natural communities, and intact ecosystems across the Commonwealth. Critical Natural Landscape identifies larger landscape areas that are better able to support ecological processes, disturbances, and wide-ranging species.
BioMap2 Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape overlap in many locations. Together, Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape identify 2.1 million acres that are key to the protection of our state's biodiversity.
The two elements of the BioMap2 protection strategy have a varied interplay across the Commonwealth. At times, the elements that drive the focused delineation of Core Habitat are nested within a buffer of Critical Natural Landscape. In other locations, Core Habitat or Critical Natural Landscape stands alone, taking the lead in identifying locations that warrant protection for specific elements of biodiversity or for the protection of larger ecological functions.
The specific subcomponents of Core Habitat are:
Species of Conservation Concern - included native Massachusetts species that are listed under the state Endangered Species Act or listed in the State Wildlife Action Plan
Priority Natural Communities- includes natural communities with limited distribution and the best examples documented of more common types of communities
Aquatic Core- identifies core habitat for fish and other Species of Conservation Concern
Forest Core - identifies the best examples of large, intact forests that are least impacted by roads and development, providing critical "forest interior" habitat for numerous woodland species
Wetland Core - identifies the most intact wetlands within less developed landscapes
Vernal Pool Core - identifies the highest quality most interconnected clusters of Potential Vernal Pools and the habitat between them
The specific subcomponents of Critical Natural Landscape are:
Foraging Habitat for Tern Species - identifies the offshore habitat used by MESA-listed Roseate, Arctic, Common, and Least Terns when foraging for food
Landscape Blocks - are large areas of high quality intact and predominately natural vegetation
Upland Buffers of Wetland Core - identifies upland areas adjacent to all Wetland Cores
Upland Buffers of Aquatic Core - identifies upland areas adjacent to all Aquatic Cores
Upland Habitat to Support Coastal Adaptation - identifies upland areas adjacent to existing salt marshes where these habitats might move to as sea levels rise
Biomap2 Summary Report file size 6MB
BioMap2 Summary Report Citation
Woolsey, H., A. Finton, J. DeNormandie. 2010. BioMap2: Conserving the Biodiversity of Massachusetts in a Changing World. MA Department of Fish and Game/Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and The Nature Conservancy/Massachusetts Program.