Standards & Methods
In operation since the 1970s, the NatureServe network is one of the most successful examples, if not the most successful example, of a distributed network of biodiversity inventories. The key to creating interoperability among the more than 80 local programs that comprise the NatureServe network is use of a rigorous set of field and data management standards and protocols. These standards and protocols are known collectively as natural heritage methodology, and serve as a common language for all participants in the network. The methodology we all follow means our data can be integrated across political boundaries, allowing species and ecosystems to be understood in a rangewide context, rather than only within individual states, provinces, or nations. In short, it is this “common language” that allows us to truly function as a cohesive network.