Wildlife Habitat Mapping for Community Land-use Planning and Species Conservation
Designed to guide strategic wildlife habitat conservation, the Landscape Project is a pro-active, ecosystem-level approach for the long-term protection of imperiled species and their important habitats in New Jersey. The N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) began the project in 1994. Its goal: to protect New Jersey’s biological diversity by maintaining and enhancing imperiled wildlife populations within healthy, functioning ecosystems.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation. One of the consequences of this distinction is the extreme pressure that is placed on our natural resources. As the population grows, we continue to lose or impact the remaining natural areas of the state. As more and more habitat is lost, people are beginning to appreciate the benefits — and necessity — of maintaining land in its natural state.
In addition to providing habitat for the conservation of imperiled species, protecting important wildlife habitats will result in more open space for outdoor recreation. Recent surveys by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that more than 60% of Americans participate in some form of wildlife-related recreation. Open spaces provide places where people can escape the confines of urban and suburban living. Retaining habitats in their natural state provides other benefits, such as reducing the threat of flooding, allowing for the biodegradation of environmental contaminants and recharging ground water reserves.
Learn how to use the New Jersey Landscape Project to guide and influence land-use decisions in your community, town, county and state.
Critical wildlife habitat maps can be downloaded from NJDEP Bureau of GIS website. (more)