Natural Heritage Network


The Alabama Natural Heritage Program is a member of the NatureServe Network. These Natural Heritage Network programs use the same standardized data collection methodology administered by NatureServe, and the Network has become the recognized source for the most complete and detailed information on rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems. These rare species and community data are relied upon by government agencies, corporations, and the conservation community alike. NatureServe hosts and provides support for the shared database, Biotics 5, which the member programs use to manage their rare species and community data. Biotics 5 compiles and tracks biodiversity data including taxonomy, distribution, status, biology, population trends, and conservation needs of these species and natural communities.


Uses for Natural Heritage Program Data Include:

  • Land Protection: Limited conservation dollars and volunteer contributions must be allocated carefully. Information from the Natural Heritage Program helps focus attention on Alabama's critically threatened natural features. Landowners and land managers may also be informed of the presence and importance of critical species so that they can voluntarily help protect them.

  • Environmental Impact Assessment: Before the heritage system was established, land-use decisions were often made without sufficient information. As a result, many important biological resources have been destroyed inadvertently. A professionally staffed, centralized database is readily accessible to facilitate informed decision-making before costly planning investments are made.

  • Endangered Species Review: Information collected and analyzed by the Natural Heritage Program is helpful in the revision of state and federal lists of endangered and threatened species.

  • Resource Management: Wise stewardship of Alabama's natural areas requires knowledge of sensitive or endangered biological features. Information maintained on parks, nature preserves, wildlife areas, and private conservation areas may be used to improve existing management policies and practices.

  • Research and Education: As the Alabama Natural Heritage Program's database matures, gaps in our current knowledge will become evident. Results from the inventory will guide new research, and the database itself will provide a long-term educational resource.