Massachusetts has a rich biological legacy and is home to a wide array of plants and animals. Some of these species are unique to our state, others have their largest, most stable populations here, and yet others are still relatively common.
A major function of the Natural Heritage Program is Research and Inventory . This involves collecting information on the abundance, distribution, and conservation needs of rare species and significant natural communities in Massachusetts. This information is collected through field surveys, reviews of the scientific literature and research by staff biologists and cooperators around the state. The collected information is used as the basis for management decisions, species recovery strategies, and ecological restoration .
Rare species in Massachusetts are threatened primarily by habitat loss or degradation. Management of rare species may mean giving special help to species that have been lost from the state or that are dangerously close to being lost. For more information on conservation efforts for a specific biological group, refer to the subsections on Plants , Invertebrates , Fishes , Birds , Reptiles and Amphibians , and Mammals .
Please remember rare species protection in Massachusetts benefits from all our efforts. If you see a state-listed species, please document it and report your observation to NHESP. Consider getting involved in Linking Landscapes, an effort by MassDOT in partnership with DFW to document and remediate sections of the Massachusetts infrastructure that have high wildlife mortality.