WCS North America

old Northern Appalachians

The Appalachians -- North America’s second-largest mountain chain -- cross the international border between the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Here, boreal and deciduous forests meet, yielding high levels of biodiversity. This is one of the most intact temperate forests in the world, and is home to wide-ranging wildlife such as the Canada lynx, American marten, fisher, caribou, moose, and black bear. The Northern Appalachian Ecoregion encompasses all or part of four Canadian provinces and five U.S. states.

Conservation Challenges

The Northern Appalachian region has one of the longest histories of intensive human settlement in North America. Although logged extensively in the past, the region has seen considerable forest re-growth over the last century.  However, significant challenges remain. First, residential development and road networks continue to expand, threatening to slice the region into small islands of unconnected habitat. Second, the impact of a changing climate on the distribution of wildlife and the plants they rely on is uncertain. Finally, a general lack of transboundary information and data to support conservation planning and action on a large scale presents an additional challenge due to the complexity of government jurisdictions - nations, provinces and states, towns and municipalities - involved. 

Conservation Approach

WCS's approach to tackling these challenges involves working across boundaries to achieve conservation goals at a large scale. This includes creating a transboundary conservation vision for the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion and raising awareness of the critical importance of the area for conservation. We have been forming and supporting conservation networks and partnerships as well as contributing to the generation of ecoregional-scale conservation planning resources through data compilation, mapping, and analysis. In addition, we have been supporting the on-the-ground conservation efforts of local conservation partners and working to conserve a connected network of intact landscapes that support wildlife and ecological connectivity in partnership with the Staying Connected Initiative.


Human Footprint

The Human Footprint mapping initiative led by WCS helps to quantify and visualize the accumulated impact of human activities across the region, providing a baseline against which the consequences of further development in local areas can be measured.  This tool can be used to identify areas with low human impact that can provide low-cost opportunities for conservation action.  This methodology can also be used to model trends in human-caused landscape changes as well as the potential impact of proposed development projects in the Northern Appalachians.

Conservation Planning Atlas

To conserve an ecoregion requires knowing where the important places to conserve and protect are, and sharing that information with the many people and organizations working towards a common conservation vision across the region. The Northern Appalachian Conservation Planning Atlas is an online Atlas containing interactive maps, information and GIS data about where those places of conservation importance are. Developed and managed by WCS the Atlas is a tool that plays a vital role in supporting the information sharing and mapping needs of conservationist in the Northern Appalachians.

Two Countries, One Forest

WCS is a founding member of the conservation collaborative Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest), a network of non-governmental organizations, land trusts, foundations and researchers working together to conserve and restore wildlife and natural habitats across the transboundary Northern Appalachian-Acadian Ecoregion.

The Staying Connected Initiative

WCS works to conserve wildlife and ecological connectivity in the ecoregion through the identification of priority linkages between intact forest habitat, the development of connectivity planning tools and partnering with Canadian conservation groups to strengthen the Canadian component of transboundary connectivity initiatives. WCS conducts this work as a partner of the Staying Connected Initiative, an initiative developed from the work of Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest).

Adirondacks Conservation Program

In the mid 1990s, WCS established the Adirondack Communities and Conservation Program in response to a need for an information-based, cooperative approach to research, community involvement, and outreach.  WCS’s guiding philosophy is that community wellbeing and environmental quality are strongly linked. WCS applies a cooperative, science- and information-based approach to the conservation of the Adirondacks and its wildlife.

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WCS North America Program
212 South Wallace Avenue, Suite 101 Bozeman, MT, 59715 USA
(406) 522-9333

Key Staff

Gillian Woolmer
Director of Finance and Operations
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