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The Northern Appalachian Acadian Ecoregion

A wild space:

The ecoegion that stretches from New York to Nova Scotia, once home to top predators like the mountain lion, is now home to 5.4 million people. And nearly 70 million who live within a day's drive. Keeping the remaining forest habitat healthy is a challenge. Yet consider this: satellite images taken at night show much of this ecoregion still bathed in darkness. Relatively speaking, this space is still wild.

The Northern Appalachian Acadian ecoregion was shaped by the retreat of glaciers 12,000 years ago and the mineral-rich soils they left behind. The heart of the region is the rugged chain of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching down from the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec to the Berkshire Plateau in Massachusetts. This ancient mountain range is flanked by forests whose fall splendor is world-renown - the Acadian forest of the Canadian Maritimes to the east, the Adirondack Mountains of New York to the west - and characterized by a web of ecologically rich wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams and bogs and numerous freshwater and wetland species, some globally unique.

A shared challenge:

Human activity already directly influences 98.2 per cent of the forest ecosystem in the area. Preliminary study tells us this ecoregion is at risk of being separated into a series of ecological islands and that protection of key linkages across the landscape is vital.

Forests here are much younger and more fragmented than ever before, and the richness and stability of soils and water is decreasing. Amid the impact of climate change, haphazard development for housing and commerce continues along with extensive road building, water pollution and intense exploitation of nature resources. Acid deposition has impaired the water quality of lakes and streams: more than 40% of lakes in the Adirondack Mountain region of New York, 15% of lakes in New England, and 30% of the lakes in the Maritimes have become acidified.

It's become increasingly difficult for wildlife here to find safe habitats in which to live and to breed: moose from Quebec and Vermont are moving into the Adirondack Mountains (where they have not been seen for more than 100 years) and few of their corridors are permanently protected. The northern reaches of this forested landscape provide the last bastion for many ecoregional species, including the eastern caribou and the Canada lynx. It is still a land of lakes and loons and forests, but Nature here is under threat and that threat is growing.

A shared belief:

Americans and Canadians in the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion are divided by an international boundary. However, they are linked by landscape, by history and, increasingly, by a shared belief. That protecting nature is the right thing to do.

As our human population, our suburban sprawl and our industrial development spreads, so does the common understanding that a shared, cross-border responsibility exists to protect this precious ecoregion's long-term health.

Members of 2C1Forest believe isolated protection and thinking on conservation does not work, and that landscape conservation is our most effective tool. To learn more about our conservation-related efforts, and work targeted to protection and restoration of at-risk linkages across the region, click here.