Natural Communities and Ecosystems

  • Sheep Laurel Dwarf Shrub Bog, Dwinal Pond
  • Mixed tall sedge fen, Swimming Bog
  • Alder floodplain, Churchill Stream
  • Mid elevation bald
  • Blueberry barren, photo by Rich Bard
  • Alder floodplain
  • Open-water marsh
  • Circumneutral fen, Sawtelle Heath
  • Bluebell balsam ragwort shoreline outcrop
  • Alder thicket

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Natural Community Fact Sheets

The Maine Natural Areas Program (MNAP) has classified and distinguished 104 different natural community types that collectively cover the state's landscape. These include such habitats as floodplain forests, coastal bogs, alpine summits, and many others. Each type is assigned a rarity rank of 1 (rare) through 5 (common) both within Maine (state rank) and globally (global rank). MNAP is particularly interested in any example of a natural community type ranked S1, S2, or S3, and outstanding examples (e.g., large, old growth stands) of S4 and S5 types.

Natural Landscapes of Maine describes the composition, rarity, and distribution of each of the 104 natural community types, as well as the methods used to classify them. It also describes the 24 broader ecosystem types within which these natural communities typically occur, and it provides cross-walks to other classification systems, including those used by the National Vegetation Classification System and Society of American Foresters.