Mapping & Monitoring
The Woods Hole Research Center’s work in Southeastern Massachusetts examines the changes in the area of developed lands, promotes land conservation, maps the expansion of impermeable surfaces such as roads and parking lots, and educates the public about the services that intact natural ecosystems provide for free.
This portion of Massachusetts is unique in that it is home to rare and endangered natural ecosystems (such as pine barrens, cedar swamps, and sensitive coastal environments), a large sole-source aquifer, and extensive and unspoiled tracts of forest. It is also home to threatened areas of cultural importance such as cranberry bogs and key historical towns and villages. This project focuses on past, present, and future development and reasons why ecosystems processes should be considered when planning for the future. Southeastern Massachusetts is experiencing intense human development pressures due to increases in population and development in surrounding areas like Boston, Providence, and Cape Cod. Ecosystem awareness can help direct the development that does occur in the region to the least sensitive areas and minimizes negative effects on the environment. Already degraded lands must also be restored.