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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 June 2014, the Natural Heritage Program has nearly 27,000 element occurrence records for the 1900+ elements we track, including records for approximately:

  • 5100 vertebrate animals
  • 2200 invertebrate animals
  • 10,800 vascular plants
  • 1000 nonvascular plants
  • 530 animal assemblages
  • 7100 natural communities
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