A useful starting point for managing any garden or landscape within the state is to understand the ecological characteristics of the region within which it exists, as well as the cultural and historic patterns of land use. Any given ecoregion— determined by its geology, hydrology, climate, and distribution of flora and fauna— is typically quite distinct from any other. Certainly, it is easy to see that the hills and mountains of western Massachusetts are vastly different from the sand-plains of Cape Cod, or the estuaries and barrier beaches of the North Shore.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has mapped 13 ecoregions for the state. For practical purposes, and largely to combine many of the smaller (but related) ecoregions of the Berkshires, these original 13 regions have been slightly simplified into nine different forest management zones by the Massachusetts Division of Fish & Wildlife. Those nine regions mapped here help to delineate our Commonwealth's varied ecology. In short, they can help us to understand the growing conditions of different areas and serve as valuable reference points for identifying the flora that are indigenous to those locales.


Mass Forest Management Zones


Massachusetts: 13 Ecoregions as mapped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

More about Massachusetts' Forest Management Zones

Interactive EPA Ecoregions Map for Massachusetts