Finding At-Risk Plants and Animals on Forest Lands

Foresters, wood-workers, and landowners sometimes have trouble incorporating at-risk plants and animals into their land management activities because of a lack of data on where these creatures are located. Forest certification programs like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council, and others require that participants account for these species, but finding them is difficult if forestry professionals do not know where to look.

Frosted flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum, G2). Photo by Michael Graziano. With funding from the Weyerhaeuser Company, National Council forAir and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, NatureServe has developed an approach to help the forestry industry manage for biodiversity on their lands. We created a list of the at-risk plants and animals that are most likely to occupy forest lands, then used these species’ habitats to predict where they might be found.

“NatureServe’s work to map probable locations of at-risk species provides an approach that will help the forestry industry better identify and conserve vulnerable plants and animals on forest lands,” said T. Bently Wigley, Ph.D., manager of NCASI’s Sustainable Forestry and Eastern Wildlife Program. “With these data and processes, forest managers can more easily locate at-risk species and focus conservation efforts.”