Losing Ground

Losing Ground logo

Over the past 40 years, the landscape of Massachusetts has been transformed by new residential and commercial development. Eastern and southeastern Massachusetts have undergone the most change, but virtually every community in the Commonwealth has experienced rapid growth driven by economic and demographic factors.

Starting in 1991, Mass Audubon has analyzed these changes every 5 years using the most up-to-date technology and methods, providing conservationists, town planners, and agencies with information for planning and advocacy. The results are published in our Losing Ground reports.

Losing Ground IV

The fourth edition of Losing Ground not only examines recent changes in land use based on data from 1999 through 2005 but also the ecological impacts of development from 1971-2005. Download the report.

Summary Facts

At-a-glance statistics from the report on land use patterns in Massachusetts.

Land Use Statistics

Explore Massachusetts land protection statistics by town, county, watershed, Regional Planning Agency (RPA), or eco-region, including data on land use, development, amount of land protected, ecological integrity, as well as changes over time.

Interactive Land Use Maps

View maps showing land use, recent development, protection, and ecological impact are available by town, county, ecoregion, watershed, and regional planning association (RPA).

Resources to Learn More

Get the answers to frequently asked questions link to content on about Losing Ground as well as a glossary of key terms link to content on.

Take Action

As a result of Losing Ground, Mass Audubon launched the award-winning Shaping the Future of Your Community program, which helps communities understand, formulate, adopt, and implement tools for charting a more sustainable future through customized community workshops and direct assistance. Learn more