New England Research Institute for Moose and Forest Dynamics
Over the past 200 years as Massachusetts has become increasingly populated, human distribution, land cover, and wildlife habitats have become more heterogeneous. Statewide, forest area peaked in the 1980s, and forests continue to mature with harvesting at moderate intensity. Development, suburban fragmentation, and landscape degradation continue, particularly in eastern Massachusetts. Meanwhile social attitudes towards wildlife are shifting toward conservation and preservation, particularly through open-space acquisition and protection. As a consequence of historical changes in land use, land cover, and human attitudes, there has been a remarkable change in the abundance and distribution of wildlife within the state including the re-appearance of moose (Alces alces), a species extirpated from the state in the early 1700s.