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Data Coverage
Geographic Scope

Plants, Fungi, and Animals: Both NatureServe Explorer and Explorer Pro cover species in the United States (50 states and the District of Columbia) and Canada. In addition, NatureServe Explorer covers plants occurring in U.S. overseas territories that are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as well as some additional plants occurring in Puerto Rico.

NatureServe Explorer covers species that occur as natives within and those that are naturalized exotics within the geographic scope described above. The focus of Explorer Pro is on native species.

Searches in NatureServe Explorer of specific geographic areas (i.e., Location searches) include both natives and exotics by default. Species that have been identified as exotic in a nation or subnation can be excluded from results by turning off the Exotic toggle on the Location search tab. Results will include all taxa that have been specifically confirmed as native in the area(s) selected and those for which origin has not yet been confirmed. Thus, results where criteria include a specific location and ‘native’ will include taxa that are presumed to be native. Results can also be limited to taxa that occur in a region only as exotics by turning off the Native toggle. These results will not include taxa which occur as exotic in part of the region if they are also native in a different part of the same region (e.g., Spartina alterniflora will not be listed in results of U.S. exotics because, although it occurs on the West Coast as a naturalized exotic, it is native to the eastern U.S.). Species that have been reported only as vagrants to the searched Location will not appear in any results.

Ecosystems: Ecosystem data appear on NatureServe Explorer for North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, plus U.S. overseas territories. Ecosystem types are primarily tracked across this geography using the International Vegetation Classification, which provides a set of ecological vegetation types from broad scale formations to fine scale alliances and associations.  Use of the classification in the United States and adjacent areas is supplemented by the Terrestrial Ecological Systems classification, which facilitates tracking ecological site potential and dynamics of the IVC types. Together these classifications describe natural recurring patterns of ecosystems at multiple scales, based on vegetation patterns and ecological processes.  IVC units are comprehensively available at broad and mid-scales (down to the group level).  Lower-level units (i.e. associations and alliances) are mostly complete in the United States (in collaboration with our Network and the U.S. National Vegetation Classification partners, including the Ecological Society of America and the Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee), and provisional associations and alliances are available for Canada (in collaboration with the Canadian National Vegetation Classification partners).

Level Name
  Upper Levels
Class Forest & Woodland
Subclass Temperate & Boreal Forest & Woodland
Formation Cool Temperate Forest & Woodland
  Middle Levels
Division Vancouverian Forest & Woodland
Macrogroup Vancouverian Coastal Rainforest
Group Californian Coastal Redwood Forest
  Lower Levels
Alliance Coastal Redwood Forest
Association Douglas-fir - Redwood/Western Swordfern Forest