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Access NHI data
for research and planning purposes.
Wisconsin's rare species and natural communities.
a plant or non-game animal. [exit DNR]
the natural heritage working list.

Natural Heritage Inventory projects

The Natural Heritage Inventory Program (NHI) conducts field surveys - biotic inventories - for rare species and natural communities throughout Wisconsin using standard methodology. Our general approach involves collecting relevant background information, planning and conducting surveys, compiling and analyzing data, mapping rare species and high quality natural community locations into the NHI database, identifying ecologically important areas and providing interpretation of the findings through reports and other means. Inventory projects are often conducted as part of the department's master planning process. Results are analyzed to identify ecologically significant sites, called primary sites, and data are synthesized and interpreted for planning purposes.

Inventory at the Flambeau River State Forest

Primary sites

Primary sites offer major protection and/or restoration opportunities and are used, along with other sources of information, to help guide the department's master planning efforts. Each site contains documented, significant occurrences of rare and/or representative high-quality natural features. Department master planning teams, land managers and the general public can reference these sites during master planning efforts. Primary sites can also be considered "High Conservation Value Forests" for the purpose of forest certification.

Primary sites are delineated on maps using inventory results and other data, and they generally encompass a property's best examples of:

1. rare natural communities and high-quality examples of representative natural communities,
2. documented occurrences of rare species populations and rare species habitat; and/or
3. opportunities for ecological restoration or connections.

Some primary sites are already State Natural Areas, yet others do not have any special designation at this time. Because they are ecologically important, these sites often receive special consideration while master plans are being developed. Management is either deferred for a period of time or is done following consultation with an interdisciplinary team. This deferral or consultation continues until the master plan is finalized as a way to preserve the best possible range of opportunities for master planning teams to consider.

Inventory reports

Natural heritage inventory reports synthesize and highlight the best opportunities to conserve ecological diversity at a specific site. The reports include a variety of background information, as well as the primary sites identified for a given property or study area. Find an NHI inventory report.

Last revised: Thursday September 06 2012