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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Natural Heritage Program - Natural Heritage Element Occurrences

Natural Heritage Program

Natural Heritage Element Occurrences

The Natural Heritage Program collects information on occurrences of rare plants and animals, exemplary or unique natural communities, and important animal assemblages (e.g., heronries and colonial waterbird nesting sites). Collectively, these plants, animals, natural communities, and animal assemblages are referred to as "elements of natural diversity" or simply as "elements." Specific occurrences of these elements are referred to as "element occurrences."

Many of these element occurrences are on private land and are not accessible without landowner permission.

As of 2012, the Natural Heritage Program has nearly 25,000 element occurrence records for the 1600+ elements we track, including records for approximately:

  • 4900 vertebrate animals
  • 2000 invertebrate animals
  • 10,600 vascular plants
  • 1200 nonvascular plants
  • 400 animal assemblages
  • 5800 natural communities
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