New Jersey Natural Heritage Program is part of The
Natural Heritage Network.
An Inventory of Biological Diversity
The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program identifies the state's
most significant natural areas through a comprehensive inventory
of rare plant and animal species and representative ecological
communities. From the inventory, the Natural Heritage Database
compiles information on the distribution, biology, status, and
preservation needs of these species and communities. Established
in 1984 through a cooperative agreement between The Nature Conservancy,
a private conservation organization, and the Department of Environmental
Protection, full administration of the program was assumed by
the DEP in 1986.
The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program is
part of an international network including State Natural Heritage
Programs and Conservation Data Centers, all building on the
same data collection methodology. The Database is updated
continuously and is used to set state, national, and global
priorities for the preservation of natural diversity.
The Natural Heritage
The Natural Heritage Database is a continuously updated inventory
of rare plants and animal species and representative ecological
communities in New Jersey. It is the state's most comprehensive,
centralized source of information on rare plants, animals,
and natural communities. The Database is a compilation of
information from a broad range of sources including museum
and herbarium collection records, publications, knowledgeable
experts, and fieldwork. It contains information collected
by the Office of Natural Lands Management on rare plants,
animals, and ecological communities as well as data on rare
animals provided by the Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
The Database is continuously updated and improved as new data
is obtained. Information from this database is available to
assist individuals in the preservation of habitat for rare
species and ecological communities.
Information Available from the Database
- Balancing Our Needs
- Tracks the status of more than 1000 species
of plant and animals and more than 50 ecological communities
that are exemplary, rare, or imperiled at the state or global
- Contains more than 11,000 records of locations
for rare plants, animals, and ecological communities.
- Offers detailed, centralized information
to help make land-use decisions.
- Includes officially listed endangered
species from the Federal Endangered Species Act, the State
Endangered Species Act, the State Endangered Plant Species
List Act, the State Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Act,
and additional rare species that have not been listed officially.
As New Jersey continues to experience industrial and economic
growth, it is imperative that we take steps to ensure that remaining
areas of natural significance be preserved for their resource
potential, their educational and research use, and their aesthetic
and cultural values for present and future generations. As we
become more aware of our dependence on our natural environment
for our well-being and ultimate survival, we must answer one
question: how can we best preserve our irreplaceable natural
The protection of New Jersey's natural heritage
can be accomplished in harmony with older human concerns as
long as planning accompanies growth. Information from the
Database facilitates the sound evaluation of lands by ecological
resources in the state and focusing on the most threatened
significant natural areas.
Resource planners can save time and money
by referring to the Database for comprehensive Natural Heritage
The Database can be used to help:
- Prepare environmental impact assessments.
- Identify the highest quality areas for
natural diversity and those areas in most need of protection.
- Supplement field surveys conducted to
assess project impacts on natural diversity.
- Plan government, commercial, and residential
- Foresee potential problems related to
development in specific areas before commitments are made
by planners, developers, and government.
- Minimize adverse impacts on the environment.
- Avoid unnecessary conflicts and costs.
Very simply, the best decisions are made
when the most information is available. In the past, the lack
of this information severely hampered the decision-making
process. By offering a scientific overview of New Jersey's
natural assets, the Natural Heritage Database enables our
citizens to chart the course of development wisely and well.
Making a Data
To request data, please email, mail or fax a written request stating your data needs and include a completed Natural Heritage Data Request Form with attachments. Include the following information:
- Name and address of user or organization
- Type of data needed
- Copy of USGS quad with exact boundaries
- Explanation of how the information will be used
Data requests are processed in the order in which they are received; please allow 30 days for response. Due to the number of attachments, we cannot fax results. Unless you specifically request that your response be mailed or the response is unusually large, your response will be emailed to the address you provide.
Fees: Fees are charged to cover the cost of providing data services. The hourly fee for Natural Heritage Data Review Services is $70. A bill will be sent with the request response and payment should be made by check or money order payable to "Office of Natural Lands Management." A fee estimate can be given prior to initiating a search. Send data requests to:
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Natural Heritage Data Request Form
The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program
DEP - Office of Natural Lands Management
Mail Code 501-04
P.O. Box 420
501 E. State Street
Station Plaza #5, 4th Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0420
Phone No. (609) 984-1339
Fax No.: (609) 984-1427
The people of New Jersey are the caretakers of their state's
natural heritage. Everyone's support is needed to safeguard
our treasury of natural lands and the life they harbor for future
The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program must
rely on information from a wide variety of sources to develop
and sustain its ongoing inventory. Perhaps you can provide
such information. Do you know the location of an exemplary
undisturbed ecological community? Do you know of habitat for
an endangered species? If so, contact the Natural Heritage
Program. The information will be reviewed and those reports
documenting significant habitat will be incorporated into
the Natural Heritage Database. Species reporting forms and lists of rare species can be obtained from this
The New Jersey Natural Heritage Program works in concert with
a number of agencies that are focused on the conservation
of New Jersey's biological diversity. It is part of the state's
Office of Natural Lands Management, an agency that administers
a group of interrelated management and planning programs that
focus on habitat protection and passive recreation. This office
is part of the Division of
Parks and Forestry which has management responsibility
for New Jersey's state parks and forests.
The Division of Parks and Forestry is part
of the Natural and Historic Resources Group in the Department
of Environmental Protection. The department is a cabinet
level agency that administers programs focused on preserving,
sustaining, protecting and enhancing the environment to ensure
the integration of high environmental quality, public health
and economic vitality for the people of the state.
Within the Department's Natural and Historic Resources Group,
the Office of Natural Lands Management has developed a partnership
with the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame
Species Program, which surveys, regulates, and manages
the state's endangered and nongame animal species. The Endangered
and Nongame Species Program contributes information on rare
animal species to the Natural Heritage Database. It has primary
responsibility for review of rare animal species information
prior to entry into the Natural Heritage Database.
The Office of Natural Lands Management also
has developed a partnership with the New Jersey
Field Office of the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy,
through its New Jersey Field Office, works to conserve New
Jersey's plants, animals and natural communities by protecting
the lands and waters they depend upon. The Nature Conservancy
developed the award winning BCD software in which the NJ Natural
Heritage Database is housed. The NJ Field Office focuses its
protection efforts on priority sites for biodiversity identified
by the Natural Heritage Database. Information on the protection
status of priority sites is regularly shared between the Natural
Heritage Program and the Field Office.