Ecological Significance

Why Protect Sandy Brook?


Ecological Significance

Forest fragmentation has resulted in declines of several deep forest species and natural processes.  Protecting large areas from this threat is necessary to preserve the variety of naturally occurring habitats and maintain ecosystem integrity.  In southern New England the Sandy Brook Conservation Corridor (SBCC) offers one of the best chances to conserve existing large forest blocks and create effective linkages to natural areas and protect our native species.  

Permanent forest fragmentation is one of the greatest threats to New England’s landscape.  In some parts of the region it is projected that up to 63% of private forestland may be cleared by 20301.  This type of disturbance limits wildlife movement and decreases forest patch size to levels intolerable to some species.  There are at least twenty birds in the northeast that have been negatively impacted by forest fragmentation, many of which can be found within the SBCC2.

In order to maintain healthy ecosystems a connected network of preserves must be created.  Contiguous forested areas offer greater species richness than can be found in isolated woodland patches.  Such a system of protected areas provides habitat for animals that require large ranges, who would be unable to survive in smaller disconnected spaces3.  If the existing protected forestland within the Sandy Brook region is not expanded and connected, the risk of fragmenting the landscape is too great.

For a detailed report on the Sandy Brook Natural Area Preserve, at the heart of the SBCC, please click here. This management plan includes information on flora, fauna, and natural processes within the corridor.

1Foster, David R., et al.  2010.  Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for theNew England Landscape.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
2Rosenberg, K.V., R.W. Rohrbaugh, Jr., S.E. Barker, J.D. Lowe, R.S. Hanes, and A.A. Dhondt.  1999.  A Land Manager’s Guide to Improving Habitat for Scarlet Tanagers andOther Forest-Interior Birds.  Ithaca: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
3Noss, Reed F., and Allen Y. Cooperrider.  1994  Saving Nature’s Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity.  Washington, D.C.: Island Press.