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MassWildlife and climate adaptation

Learn how MassWildlife and others in the Northeast are cooperating to plan for the impacts of climate change.

Fish, wildlife, and ecosystems across the Commonwealth and across the Northeast are being impacted by climate change. MassWildlife is participating in a number of projects to respond to these impacts and plan for the challenges ahead. Use the resources below to learn more about research and planning related to ecosystem resilience and climate adaptation.


Massachusetts Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network

Mass ECAN is a community of practice for climate adaptation practitioners and researchers who are interested in ecosystem resilience and natural resources conservation. The goal of Mass ECAN is to build community, increase knowledge sharing, and foster collaboration among climate adaptation practitioners and researchers interested in ecosystem resilience across Massachusetts. The group maintains an email list and database of participants to facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool

The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool can be used by local decision-makers, conservation managers, land trusts, regional planners, landowners, and community leaders in Massachusetts who are interested in taking action in response to climate change. Users can access information on climate change impacts and the vulnerabilities of various fish and wildlife and their habitats. The tool also allows users to explore adaptation strategies and actions to help maintain healthy, resilient natural communities in the face of climate change.

Massachusetts’ State Wildlife Action Plan

The State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) presents the 570 Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Commonwealth, the 24 types of habitat that support these species, and the actions necessary to conserve them. Chapter 5 of the SWAP focuses on how climate change is likely to affect the species of greatest conservation need in Massachusetts and their habitats, and discusses how the MassWildlife will consider climate change in its conservation planning.

The Vulnerability of Northeastern Wildlife to Climate Change: Using decision science to inform management

This project focuses on developing assessments of wildlife in Massachusetts and mammals across the northeastern forest. The goal is to develop specific adaptation actions, including managing climate change refugia and incorporating actions into project planning at the state and forest level.

Climate Project Screening Tool

The Climate Project Screening Tool (CPST) is one way that MassWildlife is considering climate adaptation in the day-to-day planning of management activities, with focus on projects within Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  MassWildlife is comprised of five 5 Districts (Central, Western, Connecticut Valley, Southeast, and Northeast), all with their own—and occasionally overlapping—WMAs for which they are responsible. The tool allows natural resource managers to readily assess the potential impacts of climate change on projects and management goals. Through the CPST process, managers are able to record ongoing climate adaptation efforts, as well as consider climate change in other projects.  Reports posted here from a piloting of the CPST provide specific responses to discussions held at each District in 2017, as well as general findings and useful resources. Not all WMAs were discussed during the 3-hour meetings so the reports only provide limited examples of how the tool may be applied.

Additional Resources

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