Massachusetts Audubon Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience Tool

Massachusetts Audubon Society (Mass Audubon), the largest non-profit in the state protecting over 38,000 acres of land and habitats, partnered with The Nature Conservancy and LandVest in 2016 to create the Mapping and Prioritizing Parcels for Resilience (MAPPR) Tool. MAPPR includes mapping layers that can help policymakers and conservationists select specific geographic areas (e.g., town, county, watershed) within the state and identify parcels of land that, if protected, would maximize environmental and community benefits. The MAPPR Tool can help state and local governments, communities, and land trusts define planning priorities and identify climate resilient conservation opportunities.

The MAPPR Tool includes four layers: BioMap2, Resilient Sites for Conservation, Critical Linkages, and Under-Represented Settings. 

  • BioMap2 identifies areas where rare and endangered species are located, and highlights critical parcels that are essential to ensure their long-term survival and maximize the state’s biodiversity. BioMap2 combines information from geospatial data about the state’s species, ecosystems, and landscapes.
  • Resilient Sites for Conservation pinpoints “natural strongholds,” which are specific sites within Massachusetts that are better able to withstand the effects of climate change, largely due to buffering by a site’s topography and connected natural cover.
  • Critical Linkages displays areas in the state where habitat connections, such as wildlife corridors, should be protected, and in some places restored, in order to facilitate the continuity of Massachusetts’s biodiversity.
  • The Under-Represented Settings map identifies landscapes that are unique and important to biodiversity within the Northeast corridor because they are under-represented in regard to the region’s suite of protected lands.

When combined, these layers create an interactive, consolidated map that enable users to identify which areas within Massachusetts should be prioritized for conservation, including those where structural barriers (i.e., homes, infrastructure) could be removed to facilitate species and habitat migration. Users have options to select various map layers and values that will be most beneficial for their needs. The resulting map is color-coded based on which parcels are prioritized for protection.

Users can begin by selecting the study area of interest either a town, county, watershed, multi-town land trust, or Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife District. Then, four pre-calculated or populated models are available to choose from for the select area, or users can build their own map by selecting from among all of MAPPR available layers. For example, users interested in preserving ecosystems and biological habitats could select the BioMap2 Core Habitat value, with a focus on natural communities, forest cores, or wetland/aquatic areas. With a focus on land-use planning for agriculture, one can select the prime farmland value, which maps areas with the best chemical and physical characteristics for planting crops. Other options include critical linkages priorities, parcel size, block size, and adjacent to protection.1

An update to the MAPPR Tool, MAPPR 2.0, added data (current through September 2016) for prime farmland and areas critical to protecting surface water supplies and wellheads. In addition, Mass Audubon added new data for Multi-Town Land Trusts and MassWildife Districts.


Publication Date: 2018

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  • Mapping tool

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