Welcome to Managing Open Space
Some form of human management of Connecticut’s ecological habitats has occurred for thousands of years. Native Americans used fire as a management tool for clearing and maintaining fields. European settlers managed and cleared Connecticut’s forests much more intensively for agriculture and charcoal production. With chages in agricultural practices and movement of farmers westward in the late 1800’s, many of Connecticut’s forests have resprouted, such that much of the state is now covered with second growth forest. However, land use and population pressures have intensified over the last century, such that many natural habitats have been developed, fragmented, polluted, or manipulated.
In spite of its intensive land use and management history, Connecticut still has a wide diversity of habitats, numerous rare animal and plant species, and many species at the edges of their range. As development and land use pressures continue and are compounded by climate change and invasive species, conservation and sound management of our natural habitats is critical to their survival.
Connecticut’s open space lands will come under more, not less, pressure in the future. Pressures such as changes in surrounding land use, habitat fragmentation, invasive and rare species, and climate change will impact these properties. Our hope is that our habitat-based management plan outline will be a useful tool for land trust stewards and town open space managers in the long-term conservation and management of open space in Connecticut.