Ecological Management

Cold Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
Cold Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Mass Audubon manages more than 40,000 acres of wildlife habitat across the state, ranging from barrier beaches to open fields to northern hardwood forests. We regularly inventory and monitor our land and implement management actions to ensure that Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries truly are protecting the nature of Massachusetts. 

Our staff members are leaders in habitat management planning, invasive species control, dam removal, and restoration of salt marshes and grasslands. We also share these skills with conservation partners through our Land Management Consulting program (Ecological Extension Service).

Specifically, Mass Audubon’s approach to Ecological Management includes:


Every wildlife sanctuary is covered by a current ecological management plan. These plans identify the conservation assets provided by a sanctuary and prescribe actions necessary to maintain or enhance those assets in the face of 21st century challenges. Through this planning process, Mass Audubon strives to choose management actions that have measurable and lasting benefit to the nature of Massachusetts.

Habitat Management

We actively manage wildlife habitat across our entire wildlife sanctuary system to maintain and enhance uncommon, exemplary, and vulnerable natural communities on our land. This includes invasive species control, carefully planned restoration, and grassland and shrubland maintenance.

Climate-Smart Forestry

Climate-smart forestry (CSF) is an emerging approach to forestry with practices that promote healthy forests and support carbon sequestration under changing conditions, allowing forests to be part of the climate change solution. For these reasons, Mass Audubon is committed to climate-smart forest management on its wildlife sanctuaries and on lands across the state. Learn more >

Invasive Species Management

Mass Audubon considers invasive species to be one of the greatest threats to the nature of Massachusetts because they out-compete, displace, or kill native species. Our approach to addressing invasive species includes projects on our wildlife sanctuaries, supporting statewide initiatives, and educating the public. Learn more >

Capturing Carbon

Mass Audubon has enrolled 10,000 acres of our forests in a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Improved Forest Management project, the first of its kind in Massachusetts. Since the carbon stored in these acres exceeded the regional average value, we were awarded more than 600,000 offset credits, which were then sold on the CARB carbon offset market. Learn more >

Inventory & Monitoring

Taking inventory and monitoring of specific wildlife and plants provides us with information on how well our wildlife sanctuaries represent the biological diversity found in Massachusetts and provides information on changes over time.