Delaware Bay Estuary Project
Northeast Region

The Maryland-Delaware-New Jersey Gap Analysis Project (MDN-GAP)

maryland habitat map
Before anyalysis begins, habitat types of an area are identified.

The goal of Gap Analysis is to keep common species common by identifying those species and plant communities that are not adequately represented on existing conservation lands. By identifying their habitats, Gap Analysis gives land managers, planners, scientists, and policy makers the information they need to make better-informed decisions when identifying priority areas for conservation.

Gap Analysis came out of the realization that a species-by-species approach to conservation is not effective because it does not address the continual loss and fragmentation of natural landscapes. Only by protecting regions already rich in habitat can we adequately protect the animal species that inhabit them.

Important habitat types identified by this analysis include: 

  • early successional habitats
  • unpolluted mountain streams
  • vernal pools with substantial upland forest buffers
  • forested wetlands
  • freshwater marshes
  • forest interior
  • broad riparian and floodplain forests
  • beach and dune habitats

The most prominent rare species hotspots that are unprotected include:

  • Youghiogheny River corridor and other riparian forests in western Maryland
  • Coastal plain ponds and surrounding hardwood forests in the Blackbird-Millington Corridor
  • Potomac River and C&O Canal tributaries northwest of Washinton, D.C

New Jersey

  • riparian and headwater forests of the New Jersey Highlands and Kittatinny Mountain
  • forest-swamp ecotones in the New Jersey Pine Barrens
  • wetlands associated with headwaters and tributaries of several rivers in the southern Pine Barrens and Highlands


  • Coastal plain ponds and surrounding hardwood forests in the Blackbird-Millington Corridor
gap intro


Last updated: July 18, 2012

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