Natural Area Inventories

The Natural Heritage Program has a team of biologists that collects data on rare species and natural areas. Activities include:

  • Completing natural area inventories for all 100 North Carolina counties
  • Site-specific surveys at North Carolina's military installations
  • Searches for especially rare species
  • Searches for high-quality examples of natural communities

A statewide network of biologists also shares data with the Natural Heritage Program to promote conservation across North Carolina. Some of these partners include:

  • Biologists at state and federal agencies
  • Private contract biologists
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Academic researchers
  • Citizen naturalists

Surveys of Natural Areas are a Primary Function of the Natural Heritage Program

The program’s conservation work begins with surveys of natural areas, with the goal of finding and documenting locations of rare species and high quality natural communities. These observations are used to assess the rarity and habitat needs of North Carolina’s rarest species.

Natural Areas inventories are also used to identify NHP natural areas, places on land or water essential for supporting North Carolina’s rare species and more common elements of the state’s natural heritage.

Observations of rare species and natural communities are documented in reports and can be queried using our Database Search and Map Viewer. These records, maps and reports are then shared with partners for a wide variety of conservation and planning projects.

The County Inventory Status map shows which counties have been completed as of January 2024.