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NatureServe and America the Beautiful
Supporting science-based conservation of 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

America the Beautiful is a locally led and voluntary nationwide conservation goal to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Scientists agree that to prevent a mass extinction crisis, address climate change, and maintain the functions of natural systems on which humanity depend, we must conserve at least 30% of the planet in the next decade. Today only 12% of land and 26% of our waters are protected in the United States.

How NatureServe Can Help

As the world’s first biodiversity observation network, NatureServe has spent decades developing the most comprehensive data on species and ecosystems of the U.S., with an emphasis on those that are rare and imperiled, and applying it to meet both regulatory and conservation needs. These data, and the network of natural heritage programs in every state that underpin them, are fundamental to any science-based effort to expand effective conservation in our country.

The NatureServe Network, consisting of more than 1,000 scientists across the continent, has been at the forefront in applying technology to deliver data-driven conservation for 50 years. Using a collaborative science approach, we have developed a portfolio of high-resolution maps that identify critical areas for species conservation in the U.S. With support from Esri, The Nature Conservancy, and Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, the Map of Biodiversity Importance uses machine learning to model habitat for a taxonomically and ecologically diverse set of more than 2,000 of the nation’s most imperiled plants and animals. Analyzed in conjunction with protected area boundaries, these models highlight mapping areas of high biodiversity importance that are currently unprotected.

The Map of Biodiversity Importance is just one example of the invaluable input NatureServe and our Network provide to guide the design and implementation of America the Beautiful. Learn more about how NatureServe is helping to identify critical landscapes.

The Map of Biodiversity Importance

This map displays richness of at-risk species outside of existing protected areas using modeled distributions for 2,216 of the most imperiled plants and animals in the United States. Deeper reds indicate where land and water protection will most benefit the least protected yet most threatened biodiversity in our nation.


“Protecting the planet's precious biodiversity has never been more important. Every day, the challenges associated with saving native species from extinction and conservation of ecosystems are growing. NatureServe is proud to participate in the America the Beautiful initiative and is committed to providing the data, expertise, and technological resources to help solve one of the scariest environmental challenges of our time, the mass extinction of untold numbers of species.

—Sean T. O’Brien, Ph.D., President and CEO of NatureServe.