Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Ecoregions
Massachusetts falls within two ecoregions, the Northeastern Highlands and the Northeastern Coastal Zone. These ecoregions can be further divided into 13 subregions. The major forest cover in the Northeastern Highlands is northern hardwood (maple-beech-birch) and northern hardwood-spruce. The most extensive ecoregion in Massachusetts—the Northeastern Coastal Zone—is dominated by glacial plains covered with low to high hills that support land uses of woodland and forest, along with some cropland and pasture, and some sizable areas of urbanization.
These two large ecoregions each encompass a wide geographic area in the Commonwealth and are too coarse a lens to have much relevance to bird conservation. The 13 subregions, however, are much more specific and in many cases directly inform the distribution of breeding birds around the state. For this reason, the 13 subregions are a focus of our analyses of changing bird distributions, and are referred to as “ecoregions” in much of the document.