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The NatureServe Network of Member Programs
The NatureServe network collects and analyzes data about the plants, animals, and ecological communities of the Western Hemisphere. The 82 member organizations, known as natural heritage programs or conservation data centers (CDCs), operate throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
To visit the local website for any of these natural heritage programs or conservation data centers, use the lists below. Or, view a complete contact list (pdf, 519 kb) for these NatureServe network member programs.
Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers
Natural heritage programs are the leading source of information on the precise locations and conditions of at-risk species and threatened ecosystems. Consistent standards for collecting and managing data allow information from different programs to be shared and combined regionally, nationally, and internationally. The staff from across the network are experts in their fields, and include some of the most knowledgeable field biologists and conservation planners in their regions.
The NatureServe network carries on a legacy of conservation work that began when The Nature Conservancy helped to establish the first state natural heritage program in 1974. Over the next two decades, The Nature Conservancy and a collection of public and private partners built a network of biological inventories covering most of the Western Hemisphere. Today, most natural heritage programs are state/provincial government agencies; while others are housed in universities. The NatureServe network represents more than 800 dedicated scientists with a collective annual budget of almost $50 million.
Biodiversity Information Databases
Each program maintains and continuously updates a sophisticated database that tracks the relative rarity of each species or community and the precise location and status of each known population. Natural heritage biologists conduct extensive field inventories to locate and verify species populations and to assess their current conservation condition. Representing more than three decades of continuous ecological inventory and database development, these are the most complete and up-to-date conservation databases available.
Scientific Data Informing Decisions
The information compiled by network member programs is a powerful conservation tool for planners, landowners, natural area managers, and others. Conservation groups use natural heritage data to identify the most important natural areas and to set conservation priorities. Local governments use the information to aid in land-use planning. Developers and businesses rely on natural heritage data to comply with environmental laws and to improve the environmental sensitivity of development projects. Public agencies use it to manage public lands better and help guide natural resource decisions.