Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Extending the Northeast Terrestrial Habitat Map to Atlantic Canada


Mark Anderson

Charles Ferree

Kevin McGarigal

Publication Type:
Year of Publication:
The Nature Conservancy


The Northeast United States and Atlantic Canada share many of the same types of forests, wetlands, and natural communities, and from a wildlife perspective the region is one contiguous forest. However, resources are classified and mapped differently on the two sides of the border, creating challenges for habitat evaluation, species modeling, and predicting the effects of climate change. To remedy this, ecologists from The Nature Conservancy collaborated with a committee of scientists from various Canadian institutions to produce the first international map of terrestrial habitats for northeast North America. The project used extensive spatial data on geology, soils, landforms, wetlands, elevation and climate. Additionally, all four provinces contributed spatially comprehensive forest inventory data consisting of 3 million polygons depicting the tree composition of individual forest stands. The Atlantic Conservation Data Centre contributed precise spatial locations of over 200,000 species. The resulting map shows the distribution of 40 upland and wetland habitats, 29 of which are shared by both countries. It has been integrated with the Northeast Terrestrial Habitat Map that covers 13 northeast states and the District of Columbia in the US. This project was funded by The Department of the Interior Northeast Climate Science Center and the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.