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Media Advisory: Western Mass. Press Conference on Dec. 12, 2013

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Contact: Clarisse Hart, Harvard Forest Outreach Manager
Telephone: (978) 756-6157 (9a to 5p)

Harvard Study Shows Sprawl Threatens Water Quality, Climate Protection, and Land Conservation Gains in Western Massachusetts

Important new study predicts possible impacts of land-use decisions

A ground-breaking new study by Harvard University's Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent land development trends will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape's ability to protect against climate change.

The data predicts, for the first time, the possible impacts of land-use decisions made now and in the future. It is also the first time a study of this magnitude has been conducted for an entire state. The results have important implications for Western Massachusetts where the challenges of balancing development and sensitive land use are particularly acute. The speakers will present new findings for Western Massachusetts.

WHAT: News conference to discuss Changes to the Land: Four Scenarios for the Future of the Massachusetts Landscape and what the results mean for Western Massachusetts

WHEN: December 12, 2013

           10:30 am start time

WHERE: Springfield Science Museum

             Main Entrance/Visitor Center at 21 Edwards Street, Springfield (directions)


             Free parking in Museum lot.

WHO: David Foster, Director, Harvard Forest

Jonathan Thompson, Senior Ecologist, Harvard Forest

Kathy Fallon Lambert, Science & Policy Project Director, Harvard Forest

Stephanie Cooper, MA Asst Secretary – Energy and Environmental Affairs


To RSVP for the press conference and to receive the embargoed press release and executive summary of the report with a summary of policy implications, contact:

Clarisse Hart at 978-756-6157;

Photos and B-roll are available at /changes-to-the-land.