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Threats To The Pine Barrens

The beautiful and diverse Central Pine Barrens region faces threats from a wide variety of sources. The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission and its Protected Lands Council and Law Enforcement Council work with other concerned agencies and organizations to address these threats in order to protect the vast and important biodiversity, ecological communities and water resources the region offers.

The primary threats to the biodiversity, ecosystem health and water resources within the Central Pine Barrens are:

  • Habitat fragmentation resulting from development and illegal clearing
  • Contamination and nutrient enrichment of groundwater, surface waters and soils
  • Insect infestations and plant diseasesspb-sap
  • The spread of invasive species, (animals, insects and plants) such as the southern pine beetle (see photo), which devastate tree populations.
  • Accelerated erosion and habitat loss caused by inappropriate or illegal uses, such as the operation all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs)
  • Alteration of ecological processes within or near natural areas including:
    • fire suppression within fire dependent ecosystems
    • hydrological (water-related) alterations caused by stormwater runoff, drainage, flooding or wastewater  treatment contamination          
    • over browsing by locally high resident deer populations
    • potential disruptions in aquatic ecosystems from non-native fish and plants in lakes and streams
    • illegal dumping
    • incompatible development and management within or adjacent to natural areas
    • climate change

For further information on the Commission work to address threats to the Central Pine Barrens visit our online document library.