Biodiversity puzzle

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 through active habitat management. The Biodiversity Initiative (BDI) receives key support from the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and the Department of Fish & Game.

The BDI brings together Restoration Ecologists, Wildlife Biologists and Foresters from the DFW Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and Habitat Management Program to focus on active management designed to directly benefit rare and declining wildlife species and plant communities. Both uplands (especially open grasslands and fire-adapted pitch pine/scrub oak shrublands) and wetlands (like fragile calcareous wetlands threatened by invasive plants) are treated under the BDI. Primarily, the BDI focuses on habitats that have suffered from  either direct losses from human development and/or from human alteration of natural disturbance processes (e.g. flooding, fires, etc.).

In 2013, the NHESP developed the BDI Key Sites project to delineate high-priority biodiversity areas (Key Sites) across the state. The Key Sites project uses BioMap2 data (and updated NHESP data) to identify high-priority sites that meet one or more of these three criteria:

  1. Sites with a concentration of co-occurring rare species listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA)
  2. Sites with the best quality occurrences of high-priority species or natural communities (e.g., globally rare species)
  3. Multiple, co-occurring, landscape-level resources, as identified by BioMap2

    Currently, the BDI is conducting habitat management at the following Key Sites:

Site Name

Habitat Type

Acres

Town

Bolton Flats WMA

Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Shrublands

50

Bolton/Lancaster

Camp Chacelot WMA

Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Shrublands

50

Plymouth

Cook/Harlow Ponds

Calcareous Wetland

25

Plymouth

Crane Pond WMA

Mixed Shrublands

50

Groveland,Newbury

Fairfield Brook WMA

Calcareous Wetland

25

Richmond

Frances Crane WMA

Grassland & Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak

300

Falmouth

Montague Plains WMA

Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Shrublands

200

Montague

Southwick WMA

Grassland

125

Southwick

Myles Standish WMA

Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak Shrublands

50

Plymouth