- Krohn, William B
USGS Biological Resources Division, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Maine
- Boone, Randall B.
Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME.
Never in the history of Maine has interest in conserving the state's forestlands been more intense. Charges of biodiversity loss and wildlife habitat destruction appear regularly in print. However, one rarely hears challenges demanding to see the data supporting these allegations. In 1991, a Gap Analysis of Maine was initiated and the data assembles to spatially assess selected aspects of Maine's biodiversity. The range-level distribution of the 277 terrestrial vertebrates that regularly bred in Maine, 1984-93 (amphibians =18 species, reptiles=16, birds=187, and mammals=56), shows the highest richness in coastal and southern Maine. This pattern is similar to the richness patterns of threatened and endangered (T&E) species (n=10) and woody plants (n=240). Using 1990 human population density as an index to habitat vulnerability, the highest density of people occurs in southern and coastal Maine. While Maine's population density as an index to habitat vulnerability, the highest density of people occurs in southern and coastal Maine. While Maine's human population is currently increasing bu only 1,000 or so people annually, the distribution of this population is changing rapidly. Southern Maine has the highest richness of terrestrial vertebrates, T&E species and woody plants, and is most vulnerable to permanent habitat alteration due to human population characteristics, yet contains one small and scattered Category 2 and 3 conservation lands. In addition to coastal and southern Maine, northwestern Maine also merits special consideration in conservation planning because this regions contains few reserves and provides habitat for northern species at their southern limits. While we see no biodiversity crisis at the statewide scale, we acknowledge that there are site-specific management issues deserving study and biodiversity concerns that go beyond woody plants and terrestrial vertebrates (e.g., aquatic diversity, old-growth forests, recreational use, remoteness).
Note: website referenced in paper no longer maintained; a pdf of The Maine GAP Analysis Project final report is available on NEFIS.