The Central Maine Power transmission corridor project has terrible impacts of forest fragmentation and on survival of wildlife populations in the area. This region is of national significance because of the many rare and endangered species surviving there. The project does not help to prevent climate change, as the company likes to claim.

A Maine Mountain Collaborative research study describes the impacts I am most concerned about: “There are significant potential negative impacts of forest fragmentation on the flora, fauna and ecosystems of the Western Maine Mountains. That occurs when permanent features such as roads, utility corridors, buildings or clearings create breaks that disturb the natural ecological balance of populations that exist here.

“Impacts such as direct habitat loss, habitat degradation through increased isolation of plant and animal populations, greater exposure to edge effects, and invasion by disturbance-adapted species are cumulative, leading to degraded ecosystems and, eventually, reduced wildlife survival rates.

“The resiliency of the Western Maine Mountains in the face of climate change is largely due to the extent and connectivity of the region’s forests. These forests provide far greater benefits to climate stabilization than the alternative of land development. Because heavily forested areas sequester more carbon than they emit and the wood they produce can be used to substitute for more energy- and emissions-intensive building materials, keeping forested lands intact will help mitigate climate change regionally.”

The western Maine mountains region is an ecological treasure that faces unprecedented threats from forest fragmentation. New land uses and policies that fragment the region’s forests — such as the proposed CMP project — would have the potential to profoundly change the ecology of the region by bringing extensive new human infrastructure into remote areas.

Deb Avalone-King

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