Two Countries - One Forest
People may recognize boundaries drawn on a map but wildlife does not. The Appalachian Mountains form the spine of the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion that spans two countries, five states, and four provinces. This northeastern temperate forest that includes boreal forest in its most northern reaches is home to many wide-ranging animals such as lynx, marten, moose, and black bear. These animals need room to live and roam beyond human boundaries. But these species and many other endangered plants and animals found here are at risk as old growth forests are logged, wildernesses are developed for housing, and habitat becomes increasingly fragmented. The rate of development has recently accelerated due to the increased sale of forestlands that has accompanied the decline of the forest industry.
For wide-ranging wildlife to exist and for the region’s forests and wetlands to be able to adapt to increased summer and winter temperatures and changes in precipitation as a result of climate change, we need to protect and connect critical areas of habitat. Places such as Tug Hill, the Adirondacks, Green Mountains, White Mountains, northeast Maine, Gaspe Peninsula, central New Brunswick, Cape Breton Highlands and southwestern Nova Scotia must be ecologically linked up to accommodate the needs of wildlife. Otherwise, the landscape will be chopped up into islands of green that isolate wildlife and eventually risk contributing to overall declines in their populations.
- Identify and assess threats to crucial wildlife corridors.
- Influence federal, state, and county policies and legislation to ensure support for wildlife corridor conservation.
- Work with government transportation agencies to ensure safe passage of wildlife across busy highways, railroads, and other transportation infrastructure.
- Assist private landowners to conserve wildlife corridors across their property.
What WCS is Doing
WCS-Canada is working with the transboundary conservation initiative Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest) to support conservation planning to ensure that, in spite of political borders, this region remains connected and able to adapt as the climate changes over time. Our conservationists are engaged in regional planning for northern Appalachia from New York to Nova Scotia, in collaboration with other organizations, researchers, and foundations on both sides of the border. WCS-Canada has developed the regional Human Footprint map to identify the last of the wild in this region. These initiatives will help us understand what is at risk and help us to plan for and adapt to the outcomes of a changing climate.