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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Natural Heritage Program - NHP Publications

Natural Heritage Program

Natural Heritage Program Publications

NOTE:

Bound copies of available reports can be purchased by contacting the .

Search our database of research reports using the Searchable Publications tab. Publications can be downloaded for free. The database includes:

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.

Rare Plant and Animal Lists

The Natural Heritage Program is a leader in monitoring the status of North Carolina's rare plants and animals.

  • Natural Heritage Program surveys places throughout the state for new populations of rare and protected species.
  • We gather and assess information from a wide variety of sources to determine imperilment and conservation needs of high-priority species.
  • Rare plant and animal lists are comprehensively reviewed and updated every two years.

The most recent lists (updated in 2012) provide information critical for the management of our natural heritage resources throughout the state:

Natural Communities

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 fully described in "Guide to the Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carolina (Fourth Approximation)" (Schafale 2012). 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.

Complete descriptions are being prepared for the Fourth Approximation. The full descriptions for the Third Approximation remain useful.

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