Ecosystem Management

We assist the establishment of pine barrens plants, use techniques that mimic historical natural disturbances and monitor the condition of this inland pine barrens ecosystem.

If you build it, they will come.

The threatened and endangered animal species inhabiting the preserve tend to be creatures that cannot survive in the forests, agricultural fields or built environments (homes, buildings, streets, etc.) that cover much of New York State. We help these rare species by protecting and reestablishing inland pine barrens. Our work converting overgrown or developed landscapes back to barrens has led to the expansion of rare wildlife species, such as the prairie warbler and the inland barrens buckmoth.

A Karner blue butterfly with its wings spread, standign on a blade of grass.

Male Karner blue butterfly

For the endangered Karner blue butterfly, we took the additional step of raising and releasing adult butterflies to boost populations and spread them to new areas in the preserve. This captive rearing program ended in 2015. Our pine barrens restoration and management work is currently the only intervention we make to support these butterflies and other pine barrens-associated wildlife.




"Nothing exists alone in nature"

-Rachael Carson


A landscape with occasional pitch pines towering above low-growing scrub oak bushes.
Pitch pines, scrub oaks, and grasses are among the plant species that define this inland pine barrens.


The process of restoring an ecosystem is gradual and requires frequent monitoring. We start with the plant species, which are the primary food producers and strongly influence the physical structure of the landscape. When we create or enhance pine barrens plant communities, the pine barrens animals often do well. The distribution and abundance of wildlife is our best indicator of ecosystem health.


A hand holding a recently captured dragonfly over an open field guide that provides information on the species.

Community scientists help survey dragonfly populations in the preserve.

Restoring the APB