The work of the Eastern Conservation Science team of The Nature Conservancy encompasses 22 states, protecting habitats from forests to coral reefs, and addressing priority conservation challenges in forests and climate, freshwater, oceans and coasts, and conservation lands. 

A Whole System Approach to Conservation

Whole Systems are geographic areas centered on a recognizable unifying ecological feature, like the Appalachian Mountains or the Chesapeake Bay, which are large enough to maintain resilience in the face of climate change, sustain key ecological processes and services, and allow for natural movement. Whole Systems are areas with high ecological integrity surrounded by a matrix of lands and waters that vary in quality, but are important for the conservation of a functioning system.

The goal of Whole System Conservation is to work in an area large enough to maintain resilience, sustain key ecological processes and services, and allow for movement of organisms within and through it. It includes conservation areas with high ecological integrity surrounded by a matrix of lands and waters that vary in quality, but are important for conservation.


Download high-quality pdf of this map.

The Eastern Division is focused on the following Whole Systems:

• Northern Appalachian
• Connecticut River
• Gulf of Maine (Atlantic Whole System)
• Southern New England (Atlantic Whole System)
• Delaware River and Bay
• Mid-Atlantic Bight (Atlantic Whole System)
• Chesapeake Bay
• Albemarle Sound
• South Atlantic (Atlantic Whole System)
• Everglades
• Longleaf Pine
• Central Appalachians
• Great Lakes
• Gulf of Mexico

The Eastern Division aims to provide the leadership, science, tools, and platforms, to enable Whole System conservation. We are a part of the North America Region, and coordinate our work with the Central Division, on our work in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes.  For more information on our projects or our datasets just email us here.