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Northeast terrestrial habitat map crosses Canadian border

Covering 13 US states and 4 Canadian provinces, the new interactive map provides a comprehensive picture of forested, agricultural, and wetland systems across the Northeast region.

Ecological processes don't stop at international borders, and neither will climate change. In order to understand how climate change will impact forested, agricultural, and wetland systems, resource managers on both sides of the border need to be able to see the continuous landscape. 

Now they can. The Nature Conservancy's new Terrestrial Habitat Viewer, supported in part by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, provides a full habitat picture of the North Atlantic U.S. to Atlantic Canada and southern Quebec based on field-collected data and national and provincial datasets. 

"These foundational habitat data layers will be useful for us as well as academia and other conservation groups, especially when having to work across boundaries," said Karel Allard, Landscape Conservation Coordinator for the Canadian Wildlife Service. "Including our own."

The interactive GIS map provides a foundation for advancing research in a number of key areas, such as the vulnerability of specific species. By enabling states and provinces to identify terrestrial habitats consistently across borders and analyze regional connectivity, it will strengthen international collaboration toward protecting terrestrial animal and plant populations in the context of climate change.

The map includes:  

  • Complete coverage of the Northeast’s 140 common and unique terrestrial habitats, from the serpentine ridges of the Gaspe Peninsula to the limestone barrens of western Virginia.
  • Information on each habitat’s ecology, plants and animals, securement level, regional abundance, and predicted loss to development.
  • Base maps to explore how the Habitat Map overlays on satellite imagery or topographic maps.
  • Scientifically rigorous datasets, reports, and an interactive map for your computer or cell phone. 

"This shareable Northeast Habitat Map will certainly aid the development of better species distribution models at larger spatial scales," said Allard.
 "I expect the same will be true of the new Northeast Aquatic Habitat Map," he added, in reference to a new project being undertaken by Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

The map and data were created by The Nature Conservancy with a range of provincial and other partners, and funding from the Northeast Climate Science Center and the North Atlantic LCC. The map uses a consistent classification system developed by NatureServe and innovative mapping methods developed by The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern Conservation Science team, with help from The Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Atlantic Conservation Data Centre.

Explore the Northeast Habitat Map Viewer. 


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