It’s not just specific plants and animals that are ranked for their rarity in a region. Biologists and ecologists also look at assemblages of interacting plants and animals under broader terms such as natural communities and ecosystems. This is to gauge how well these are being maintained on the landscape. In Maine, a natural community called a balsam poplar floodplain (characterized by tree species such as American elm, Balsam poplar, black ash, balsam fir, and specific ground vegetation) was identified by State ecologists as being “imperiled” because some aspects of its biology make it vulnerable to extirpation within the State. Given the way climate change has affected our weather systems, creating more abrupt waterflows, it’s understandable that this forest assemblage along a winding river might be in trouble. This 295 hectare (729 acre) conservation site was created to keep this forest community type intact and resilient against the ravages of climate change. 

Learn more about other unique high conservation sites below!