LAND CONSERVATION MAP – THE NORTHERN APPALACHIANS
|Secured Lands data compiled from multiple
state, federal, municipal and other private / non-governmental organization sources, 2009.
ESRI Administrative Boundaries,
Rivers & Coastline, 2000.
The Nature Conservancy
Eastern North America Conservation Division.
Copyright The Nature Conservancy 12/2010.
|Northern Appalachians||US States||Canadian Provinces|
|Area Totals||Acres||% Cons||% Land||Acres||% Cons||% Land||Acres||% Cons||% Land|
(see definitions above)
|GAP 1 - Biodiversity||4,280,657||12.36%||3.36%||2,291,698||17.20%||3.14%||1,988,959||9.33%||3.66%|
|GAP 2 - Natural State||3,191,471||9.21%||2.50%||2,711,844||20.36%||3.71%||479,627||2.25%||0.88%|
|GAP 3 - Multiple Uses||27,172,875||78.43%||21.32%||8,319,072||62.44%||11.38%||18,853,803||88.42%||34.69%|
|Federal / Crown||2,400,914||6.93%||1.88%||1,527,046||11.46%||2.09%||873,868||4.10%||1.61%|
|State / Province||21,128,740||60.99%||16.58%||6,422,797||48.36%||8.82%||14,685,943||68.88%||27.02%|
|Private Land Owner||7,200,091||20.78%||5.65%||2,624,613||19.70%||3.59%||4,575,477||21.46%||8.42%|
Land Mass - total acres of land in the area; Conserved Land - total acres of GAP 1, 2, & 3 lands within the area; % Cons - percent of the area's conserved land represented by the statistic; % Land - percent of the area's land mass represented by the statistic; Canadian Provinces - only land south of the St. Lawrence River is included for the province of Quebec
These map pages contain a summary of information compiled by The Nature Conservancy's Secured Areas Project. Each state TNC chapter has collected data from federal, state and local sources, TNC and other non-profit entities, as well as available public records. (The current dataset from the Canadian provinces contains less detail than the US states.) This data was then combined by the Eastern Regional Office into a single set to create a profile of protected lands in the Northern Appalachians. The result is depicted on the map and presented as statistics in the chart above. To view the map and statistics for each state or province in the region, please select from the liks above the chart.
CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR THE NORTHERN APPALACHIANS
In the early 1990s, two questions began to distill for us which have driven much of the foundation's work: First, how big, at what scale and configuration, does land conservation need to be to achieve biodiversity conservation that is viable and enduring? Second, what have we collectively accomplished to date to protect wilderness? We needed facts and hard data to develop a coherent strategy to protect wild Nature.
How big is big enough?
The question of scale is huge and intricately knotty, heavy with questions and light of answers, because scientists only partially understand ecosystem dynamics. Plants, animals and other organisms each have their own habitat, range and context. How and at what scale do we protect the pollinators and soil invertebrates that provide the foundation of life on this planet but are easily overlooked? How much habitat and range must we conserve to protect (and reintroduce) predators in our region, so that they will have functional presence on the landscape? How do we factor for global climate change?
Dr. Mark Anderson at The Nature Conservancy, working with a team of hundreds of regional scientists, conducted a thorough literature search of the species of our region, including the breeding territories of birds and animals. Based on historical records, they also analyzed the catastrophic natural disturbance events that influence eastern forests. From these investigations they developed a model and methodology to determine scale. We have supported this ongoing work and are delighted to provide you with a summary: Determining the Size of Eastern Forest Reserves which can be downloaded from our Why Wild page above.
How are we doing?
The second question - what has been protected as wild to this moment in conservation history - we have attempted to answer with this GIS project. Twenty years ago, Sweet Water Trust could find no regional conservation maps that indicated how land was managed and whether maintaining natural habitat was a management goal. Town ballfields, protected farms and timberland, and wilderness might be all colored the same shade of green. With The Nature Conservancy in the late 1990s, we decided that the most graphic way to present the management of each parcel of protected land was by updating and mapping the management categories of the U.S. Federal Gap Analysis Program. This has been an ongoing project of both TNC and SWT and has now been incorporated as a permanent part of Dr. Anderson's ongoing analysis of conservation in the Northern Appalachians.
Dr. Anderson's continued work at TNC measures regional progress toward ecological goals by comparing the GAP management codes to ecological data. It is an excellent "report card" for how conservationists are doing. For example, most GAP Status 1 protection occurs in high elevations on granitic bedrock. We need to afford the same high level of protection to lower elevation habitat because that is where most natural communities and wildlife reside.
A quick scan at the map or the chart reveals that all of the Northern Appalachian states protect more land as a source for timber than as wild habitat, some of them 10 to 12 times more. Does this correspond to public sentiment? A poll of New Englanders undertaken in 2002 by Belden Russonello and Steward for the Kendall Foundation and partners indicates a strong public preference for more wilderness protection over any other category of conservation. We trust you will find many uses for this data to help achieve conservation in the place where you live and work.