Our Contribution to Conserving Biodiversity

The PNHP staff has broad ecological knowledge, as well as an understanding of the challenging issues that face the conservation of biodiversity. However, we concentrate our work on the rarest elements of diversity: the most unique plants, animals, natural communities and landscapes in the state. We take that approach with the understanding that the health of the rarest species serves as an indicator of the general health of natural communities and ecosystems: a decline in these elements may signal that the complexity and diversity of natural systems are declining.

The information that we collect can help to conserve these species and communities and can also assist in following changes over time. Coupled with similar information from Heritage programs in other states, we can understand if geographic changes signal overall decline in a species or a movement in response to changes in the land use, climate, or other factors.

Our information is unique because it details the actual location, habitat, and condition of species and natural communities – not ranges or models of possible presence. This gives planners, landowners, businesses, and other land use decision makers the ability to plan around specific locations. We collaborate with universities, agencies, NGOs, and individuals that emphasize different aspects of biodiversity research and together address the important questions about the biodiversity of the commonwealth from rare species to entire ecosystems.