Biodiversity, simply defined as the variety of life and its processes, is a commonly used term in the conservation arena these days. Via passage of the 1996 Environmental bond bill, the state legislature authorized the expenditure of funds to maintain and enhance the native biodiversity of the Commonwealth. With key support from the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the Biodiversity Initiative was formed.
The Biodiversity Initiative consists of three interrelated programs:
- The Ecological Restoration Program (part of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program)
- The Upland Habitat Management Program
- The Forest Management Program (both the Upland and Forestry programs are part of MassWildlife's Wildlife Section)
The Ecological Restoration and Upland programs work to conserve our common wealth of native flora and fauna on both public and private lands. The Forest Management Program focuses on MassWildlife Lands. Currently, MassWildlife administers over 100,000 acres of forestland on more than 100 Wildlife Management Areas throughout the Commonwealth. Forest management activities include mapping of forest and non-forest cover types, biological monitoring of plant and animal populations, timber harvesting to provide young forest habitat, and establishment of forest reserves to secure mature forest habitat.