Mass Audubon protects wildlife habitat in Massachusetts by managing more than 35,000 acres of ecologically significant land across the state. On Mass Audubon sanctuaries, our scientists, naturalists, and sanctuary directors help protect 175 of Massachusetts's 430 endangered or threatened species and 20 of the approximately 30 regional and globally significant communities as designated by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
From its inception Mass Audubon has insisted that its positions on conservation issues have a sound scientific foundation obtained by seeking the advice and counsel of noted authorities. Some fifty years after its founding, Mass Audubon added scientists to its staff in an effort to assure that its position on increasingly complex issues were accurate and reflected current scientific opinion. Dr. William H. Drury was the first head of the scientific staff at Mass Audubon and played a significant role in the formation of Mass Audubon's initial science department.
Mass Audubon scientists over the years have made substantive contributions to conserving biological diversity of the Commonwealth and the northeast. Our scientists provided some of the first evidence confirming the role of DDT in reducing bird fecundity, played a lead role in demonstrating the significance of remaining old-growth forests and establishing a controlled burn program in the Commonwealth, and were instrumental in evaluating the decline of grassland birds, resulting in major shifts in how Massachusetts manages early successional habitats. Most recently Mass Audubon scientists conducted original research on distribution, abundance, and behavior of waterbirds in Nantucket Sound. Results of this work have played a substantive role in the environmental risk assessment for a proposed wind farm in the Sound. Mass Audubon scientists also have played an important role in developing policies for managing the water resources and coastal habitat of the Commonwealth, and for invasive species control.
Currently, Mass Audubon scientists conduct research and monitoring projects on the restoration and management of salt marshes, grassland bird habitat, and coastal heath land communities, on controlling non-native invasive species, and on coastal water birds. Mass Audubon scientists currently are conducting an extensive ecological inventory and monitoring program of several key taxa, or species groups, on our sanctuaries.