Need for the Landscape Project
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation. One of the consequences of this distinction is the extreme pressure that is placed on our natural resources. As the population grows, we continue to lose or impact the remaining natural areas of the state. As more and more habitat is lost, people are beginning to appreciate the benefits and necessity of maintaining land in its natural state.
For example, we know that wetlands are critical for recharging aquifers, lessening the damage from flooding and naturally breaking down contaminants in the environment. Forests and grasslands protect the quality of our drinking water, help purify the air we breathe and provide important areas for outdoor recreation. Collectively, these habitats are of critical importance to the diverse assemblage of wildlife found in New Jersey, including more than
Many imperiled species require large contiguous tracts of habitat for survival. The consequence of the rapid spread of suburban sprawl is the loss and fragmentation of important wildlife habitat and the isolation and degradation of the smaller habitat patches that remain. Small patches of fields, forests and wetlands interspersed with development provide habitat for common species that do well living near humans, but do not provide the necessary habitat for most of our imperiled wildlife. We need to protect large, contiguous blocks of forest, grassland and wetlands to assure the survival of imperiled species over the long-term.
Despite New Jersey's protection efforts, which include strict land use regulations and the aggressive Green Acres open space acquisition program, we continue to lose critical wildlife habitat at an alarming rate. In just the last three decades we have lost 40 percent of the critical migratory bird stopover habitat on Cape May Peninsula and 50 percent of the state's bog turtle habitat.
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