Natural Heritage Program Publications
Bound copies of available reports can be purchased by contacting the Natural Areas Inventory Manager.
Search our database of research reports using the Searchable Publications tab. Publications can be downloaded for free upon request.
Regional and County Inventories
Natural Heritage Program biologists work throughout North Carolina to document our critical biological resources. We conduct inventories for rare animals, plants, wetlands, riparian areas, and plant communities at the scale of a single parcel all the way to an entire county. By identifying and describing the locations of North Carolina’s rarest species and habitats, this work is critical for supporting conservation activities statewide.
Information from these projects has been instrumental in some of North Carolina’s biggest conservation successes over the past 30 years, such as Chimney Rock State Park in the mountains and the Roanoke River landscape-level nature preserves.
View a map that details the inventory status for each county. As of November 2012, 92 inventories have been completed, 6 are in progress, and 2 remain to be done.
The Natural Heritage Program is a leader in monitoring the status of North Carolina's rare plants and animals.
NOTE: If you downloaded a copy of the Rare Animal List prior to January 8, see here for changes to the list though May 4. The Rare Animal Animal List currently available for download does not include all of these changes.
Natural communities are important components of biodiversity. They represent a crucial means of conserving species diversity, not just for well known species, but also for the poorly known and untracked species that occur within the natural communities.
A classification of North Carolina natural communities has been developed that describes more than 340 habitat types ranging from the grassy balds in the mountains to the maritime forests of the barrier islands. The Natural Heritage Program documents the best examples of these natural communities throughout the state, with site reports, element occurrence records, and GIS-based maps.
Natural Communities are described in "Guide to the Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carolina (Fourth Approximation)" (Schafale 2012). Until complete descriptions of natural communities are available in the Fourth Approximation, the older, but full descriptions from the Third Approximation may prove useful.
The classification of natural communities has proved useful for a variety of purposes, including guiding research, organizing ecological information, characterizing sites, and defining habitat for particular species.