BioMap, a newly-updated online tool that identifies critical land and waterways throughout the Commonwealth in need of conservation, was released today by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Massachusetts. The web portal delivers the latest scientific data and resources to help state and local governments, land trusts, non-government organizations, and other conservation partners strategically plan projects to conserve wildlife and their habitats. The latest version of BioMap combines more than 40 years of rigorously documented rare species and natural community records from MassWildlife with cutting-edge climate resilience data from The Nature Conservancy and spatial data identifying intact fish and wildlife communities, habitats, and ecosystems that are the focus of the Massachusetts State Wildlife Action Plan.
“BioMap is a robust online resource that helps people better understand and appreciate the natural resources in their communities and provides information on where to strategically deploy limited resources to make real and lasting conservation impacts in Massachusetts,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon. “By making an investment in the strategic protection and stewardship of lands, we will better conserve natural areas throughout the state that provide all people with access to nature and outdoor recreation.”
Through BioMap, users can gain a detailed understanding of habitats, species, and resilient landscapes, both locally and across the state. BioMap users can customize data and use the site’s new online Habitat Restoration Resource Center to plan habitat management and land stewardship projects. Additionally, BioMap provides strategies to help communities prepare for, recover from, and adapt to climate change, while bolstering habitat resilience. Taken together, these efforts help to protect the state’s extraordinary biodiversity now and into the future.
“BioMap is more than a map, it is a critical tool that offers a vision for the people of the Commonwealth to come together to strategically protect, manage, and restore lands and waters that are most important for conserving biological diversity in Massachusetts now and well into the future,” said MassWildlife Director Mark Tisa.
The newest BioMap incorporates enhanced knowledge of biodiversity and habitats and new understandings of how to ensure that natural systems are more resilient in the face of climate change. A major innovation is the addition of local data to BioMap, which complements statewide habitat information. Habitats assessed from the perspective of each city and town in the Commonwealth will inform local decision making. Furthermore, it includes the latest information on land use in Massachusetts, including a new focus on aquatic environments and habitat restoration tools.
“Massachusetts is home to a wide variety of plants and animals,” said Deb Markowitz, TNC in Massachusetts State Director. “Our rich biodiversity is increasingly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, and invasive species. Since its inception, BioMap has become a trusted source of information to guide conservation that is used by a wide spectrum of conservation practitioners. The addition of local data will make BioMap applicable and relevant to many more people and communities, providing opportunities for equitable conservation.” BioMap is the result of an ongoing collaboration between MassWildlife and TNC in Massachusetts. With similar missions, goals, and science-based approaches to conservation, MassWildlife and TNC are natural partners to produce and maintain BioMap. BioMap received support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), DFG, and numerous generous donors. For more information on how to use BioMap or to sign up for technical assistance trainings, please contact [email protected].