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A very brief tutorial to explain what is the Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens and why they matter.
Coastal Pine Barrens
The red areas mark pitch pine-scrub oak forests. Each new development in a red-marked area means the loss of more pitch pine-scrub oak habitat. Unlike many of the other 51 natural plant communities within the Pine Barrens, little protection exists for upland forests. The forested areas serve to purify rainwater, the only source of water in the region, as it passes through the sandy soils into the underground lakes below.
Development, removal of the sand hills for commercial and industrial use, fire suppression and illegal and careless use of the natural areas are degrading and destroying this globally rare habitat. It took thousands of years of evolution to form the plants and animals whose existence depends on the pine barrens ecosystem that we see today, yet it has taken just a few decades to bring many of the plants and animals related to this fragile ecosystem close to the point of extinction. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife counts 182 species as State-Listed, meaning Endangered, Threatened or Species of Concern.
Human disregard and the recent trend seen in both Federal and State agencies to roll back regulations and delist species is having grave consequences for conservation efforts all across the United States. Locally, we witness those consequences daily. Every development approved without considering the long term effects on the environment, every special permit that undermines zoning districts, every pass through a natural area by an illegal dirt bike, every removal of native vegetation for the planting of some foreign plant makes another cut in the ecology.
SEMPBA was formed to save the Pine Barrens but no one organization or even all of the organizations that exist now (and there are about 200 in the region) will be able to save this special ecosystem. It will take a large majority of people who care enough about nature to stand up for greater protection of the environment and better community planning throughout the ecoregion and that just isn't happening.
The Pine Barrens needs you. Please join and support the groups that are working everyday to save the Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens Ecoregion. Many are found on SEMPBA's Conservation Directory (a work in progress) here.
› SEMPBA serves as the Coordinators of the Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens Partnership. To find out more about the Pine Barrens Partnership, visit the Pine Barrens Partnership Website.
› Contact SEMPBA or any of the area's conservation groups when you are ready to help save our Pine Barrens.
› Check out the Southeastern Massachusetts Conservation Directory to locate a group in your area.