The Massachusetts Coastal Pine Barrens are one of three remaining Pine Barrens ecoregions in the world (along with the Pine Barrens in New Jersey and on Long Island).
While the term "barrens" is used to describe the Pine Barrens since early settlers had difficulty growing crops on the sandy, acidic, nutrient-poor soil that makes up the region, these conditions give rise uniquely adapted species. The Pine Barrens are anything but barren; they provide habitat for many state and federally-listed species such as the Red-bellied Cooter (found only in Plymouth County, MA) and the Barrens buck moth.
The Pine Barrens range throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, from Duxbury in the north all the way to Provincetown and the Islands. Sadly, we have lost most of this ecoregion due to development and fire suppression, but through land conservation and management, including prescribed burns, mechanical mowing and tree thinning, we can help restore the diversity and delicate natural balance of this habitat.