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Wildlands & Woodlands

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Wildlands & Woodlands (W&W) is a science-based conservation vision for the New England landscape.

The project is led by the Harvard Forest and Highstead and is advanced by partnerships, organizations, agencies, and individuals across the region.

The 2005 W&W report was written by a small group of Harvard Forest scientists. It established a scientific rationale for permanently protecting 50% of the Massachusetts landscape from sprawl and development.

The 2010 W&W report, written by 20 scholars from institutions across New England, called for increasing the pace of conservation to permanently protect 70% of New England in managed and wild forests by 2060. This scale of conservation would retain and enhance the many benefits that forests currently provide, including clean air and water, tourism and recreation, and an array of forest products.

A new report, released in September 2017, is a broadened vision that rearticulates the basic goal of protecting 70% of New England in forests by 2060, but also calls for protecting 7% of the landscape in farmland, and makes additional recommendations for slowing and shifting development in a way that maintains the connection between communities and the land that sustains them.

The W&W reports, and the Harvard Forest research supporting them, have led to significant policy changes in Massachusetts and increased conservation funding throughout New England, and are becoming increasingly relevant at the federal level and in other regions across the country.

Much of this policy work is overseen by the Harvard Forest Program for Conservation Innovation and the Program for Science & Policy Integration.

Visit the Wildlands & Woodlands website to learn more.