The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program provides scientific information, expertise, and assistance to support the conservation of biological diversity.

PNHP provides a variety of services to organizations, agencies, companies, and individuals seeking information critical to effective land management, land-use planning, and conservation decision making. We serve state and federal agencies, municipalities, counties, regional planning organizations, private landowners, land trusts, watershed groups, consulting firms, and others.


Services include:

  • Site assessment and rare species inventory – Field inventory and detailed GIS site-level mapping of rare plant and animal populations and natural communities.
  • Vegetation classification, mapping, and analysis – Inventory and evaluation of plant community/cover type quality and condition, and assessment of non-native invasive plant species populations.
  • Aquatic community assessment – Classification and evaluation of streams and watersheds, including stream surveys, watershed analysis, and development of restoration goals.
  • Management planning – Development of management plans to guide site-specific, on-the-ground conservation of biological resources.
  • Restoration planning – Development of restoration needs, goals, and action steps for degraded sites.
  • Monitoring – Development and implementation of customized monitoring plans to assess changes in rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals or exemplary natural communities, or invasive species over time.
  • Conservation planning – Assistance with planning activities (such as greenways plans) including providing ecological data and analysis.
  • Training – Providing customized field and/or classroom training in the identification of species, species habitats, and natural communities to advance stewardship and build capacity within organizations, agencies and companies.

About our staff:

PNHP staff include botanists, zoologists, ecologists, planners, and data and GIS specialists, with expertise in a variety of areas:

  • Pennsylvania flora and fauna, with a focus on species of special concern.
  • Pennsylvania’s terrestrial community classification and aquatic community classification systems.
  • Aerial photo interpretation.
  • GIS mapping and analysis.
  • Planning.
  • Factors that can impact species and ecological systems, and management and restoration techniques.

PNHP maintains the database of rare plant and animal species locations used by the state in environmental review, and administers the County Natural Heritage Inventory program, in which in-depth on-the-ground studies of the biodiversity elements are completed for each county for use in their comprehensive plans. In addition, PNHP is also involved in a variety of issues, initiatives, and projects around Pennsylvania, including regional greenways planning efforts, invasive species tracking, and studies to better describe the terrestrial and wetland communities of Pennsylvania.

Services are provided through PNHP’s non-profit partner, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Payment for services covers the cost of staff time, travel, and other project-related expenses. Program staff work with clients to identify possible funding sources and utilize existing funding sources to the greatest extent possible. For more information on PNHP services, e-mail us or call us at 412-586-2330.