NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs are the leading source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems.

NatureServe represents an international network of biological inventories-known as natural heritage programs or conservation data centers-operating in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Together we not only collect and manage detailed local information on plants, animals, and ecosystems, but develop information products, data management tools, and conservation services to help meet local, national, and global conservation needs. The objective scientific information about species and ecosystems developed by NatureServe is used by all sectors of society-conservation groups, government agencies, corporations, academia, and the public-to make informed decisions about managing our natural resources.

Our Goals

  1. Help make biodiversity a mainstream consideration in all significant conservation and natural resource management decisions by making it simple for conservationists, government agencies, corporations, and landowners to access and use high-quality biodiversity information.
  2. Advance our scientific resources and information technology systems in order to meet the needs of our clients and partners.
  3. Strengthen our organizational effectiveness and capacity and better leverage the power of the NatureServe network to inform conservation action at local, regional, national, and international scales.

For more information on our goals, read our strategic plan.

Our History

NatureServe carries on a legacy of conservation work that began when The Nature Conservancy helped to establish the first state natural heritage program in 1974. Over the next two decades The Nature Conservancy and a collection of public and private partners built a network of natural heritage programs in the United States to collect and manage data about the status and distribution of species and ecosystems of conservation concern.

As this network expanded to include Canada and Latin America, natural heritage programs became the recognized source for the most complete and detailed information on rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems, relied upon by government agencies, corporations, and the conservation community alike. Today the NatureServe network includes 82 independent natural heritage programs and conservation data centers throughout the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 1,000 dedicated scientists and a collective annual budget of more than $45 million.

NatureServe, the membership organization for this network, was established in 1994 and was originally known as the Association for Biodiversity Information. By 2001, the organization had grown and evolved into its present form. The Nature Conservancy, which since the 1970s had provided scientific and technical support to the network, transferred this role to NatureServe, along with professional staff, databases, and responsibility for the scientific standards and procedures under which the network operates. NatureServe is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with regional offices in four U.S. locations and in Canada.

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