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Special Plants of NJ - Appendix I - Categories & Definitions
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The following U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service categories and their definitions of endangered and threatened plants and animals have been modified from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (F.R. Vol. 50 No. 188; Vol. 61, No. 40; F.R. 50 CFR Part 17). Federal Status codes reported for species follow the most recent listing.

LE Taxa formally listed as endangered.

LT Taxa formally listed as threatened.

PE Taxa already proposed to be formally listed as endangered.

PT Taxa already proposed to be formally listed as threatened.

C Candidate Taxa for which the Service currently has on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support proposals to list them as endangered or threatened species.

S/A Similarity of appearance species


Two animal lists provide state status codes after the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act of 1973 (NSSA 23:2A-13 et. seq.): the list of endangered species (N.J.A.C. 7:25-4.13) and the list defining status of indigenous, nongame wildlife species of New Jersey (N.J.A.C. 7:25-4.17(a)). The status of animal species is determined by the Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), with the review and approval of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee.

The state status codes and definitions provided reflect the most recent lists that were revised in the New Jersey Register, Monday, June 3, 1991.

EX -- Extirpated species-a species that formerly occurred in New Jersey, but is not now known to exist within the state.

E -- Endangered species-an endangered species is one whose prospects for survival within the state are in immediate danger due to one or many factors - a loss of habitat, over exploitation, predation, competition, disease. An endangered species requires immediate assistance or extinction will probably follow.

T -- Threatened species-a species that may become endangered if conditions surrounding the species begin to or continue to deteriorate.

D -- Declining species-a species which has exhibited a continued decline in population numbers over the years.

S -- Stable species-a species whose population is not undergoing any long-term increase/decrease within its natural cycle.

INC -- Increasing species-a species whose population has exhibited a significant increase, beyond the normal range of its life cycle, over a long term period.

P -- Peripheral species-a species whose occurrence in New Jersey is at the extreme edge of its present natural range.

U -- Undetermined species-a species about which there is not enough information available to determine the status.

I -- Introduced species-a species not native to New Jersey that could not have established itself here without the assistance of man.

Status for animals separated by a slash(/) indicate a dual status. First status refers to the state breeding population, and the second status refers to the migratory or winter population.

SC – Special Concern – applies to animal species that warrant special attention because of some evidence of decline, inherent vulnerability to environmental deterioration, or habitat modification that would result in their becoming a Threatened species. This category would also be applied to species that meet the foregoing criteria and for which there is little understanding of their current population status in the state.


Plant taxa listed as endangered are from New Jersey's official Endangered Plant Species List (N.J.A.C. 7:5C – 5.1).

E Native New Jersey plant species whose survival in the State or nation is in jeopardy.


LP Indicates taxa listed by the Pinelands Commission as endangered or threatened within their legal jurisdiction. Not all species currently tracked by the Pinelands Commission are tracked by the Natural Heritage Program. A complete list of endangered and threatened Pineland species is included in the New Jersey Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.

HL Indicates taxa or ecological communities protected by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act within the jurisdiction of the Highlands Preservation Area.


The Nature Conservancy developed a ranking system for use in identifying elements (rare species and ecological com-munities) of natural diversity most endangered with extinction. Each element is ranked according to its global, national, and state (or subnational in other countries) rarity. These ranks are used to prioritize conservation work so that the most endangered elements receive atten-tion first. Definitions for element ranks are after The Nature Conservancy (1982: Chapter 4, 4.1-1 through

G1 Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factor(s) making it especial-ly vulnerable to extinction.

G2 Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences or few remaining individuals or acres) or because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range.

G3 Either very rare and local throughout its range or found locally (even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range (e.g., a single western state, a physiogra-phic region in the East) or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extinction throughout it's range; with the number of occurren-ces in the range of 21 to 100.

G4 Apparently secure globally; although it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

G5 Demonstrably secure globally; although it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especia-lly at the periphery.

GH Of historical occurrence throughout its range i.e., formerly part of the established biota, with the expectation that it may be redis-covered.

GU Possibly in peril range-wide but status uncertain; more information needed.

GX Believed to be extinct throughout range (e.g., passenger pigeon) with virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered.

G? Species has not yet been ranked.

GNR Species has not yet been ranked.

S1 Critically imperiled in New Jersey because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals or acres). Elements so ranked are often restricted to very specialized conditions or habitats and/or restricted to an extremely small geographical area of the state. Also included are elements which were formerly more abundant, but because of habitat destruction or some other critical factor of its biology, they have been demonstrably reduced in abundance. In essence, these are elements for which, even with intensive searching, sizable additional occurrences are unlikely to be discovered.

S2 Imperiled in New Jersey because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences). Historically many of these elements may have been more frequent but are now known from very few extant occurrences, primarily because of habitat destruction. Diligent searching may yield additional occurrences.

S3 Rare in state with 21 to 100 occurrences (plant species and ecological communities in this category have only 21 to 50 occurrences). Includes elements which are widely distributed in the state but with small populations/acreage or elements with restricted distribution, but locally abun-dant. Not yet imperiled in state but may soon be if current trends continue. Searching often yields additional occurrences.

S4 Apparently secure in state, with many occurrences.

S5 Demonstrably secure in state and essentially ineradicable under present conditions.

SA Accidental in state, including species (usually birds or butterflies) recorded once or twice or only at very great intervals, hundreds or even thousands of miles outside their usual range; a few of these species may even have bred on the one or two occasions they were recorded; examples include European strays or western birds on the East Coast and vice-versa.

SE Elements that are clearly exotic in New Jersey including those taxa not native to North America (introduced taxa) or taxa deliber-ately or accidentally introduced into the State from other parts of North America (adventive taxa). Taxa ranked SE are not a conservation priority (viable introduced occurrences of G1 or G2 elements may be exceptions).

SH Elements of historical occurrence in New Jersey. Despite some searching of historical occurrences and/or potential habitat, no extant occurrences are known. Since not all of the historical occurrences have been field surveyed, and unsearched potential habitat remains, historically ranked taxa are considered possibly extant, and remain a conservation priority for continued field work with the expectation they may be rediscovered.

SP Element has potential to occur in New Jersey, but no occurrences have been reported.

SR Elements reported from New Jersey, but without per-suasive documentation which would provide a basis for either accepting or rejecting the report. In some instances documentation may exist, but as of yet, its source or location has not been determined.

SRF Elements erroneously reported from New Jersey, but this error persists in the literature.

SU Elements believed to be in peril but the degree of rarity uncertain. Also included are rare taxa of uncertain taxonomical standing. More information is needed to resolve rank.

SX Elements that have been determined or are presumed to be extirpated from New Jersey. All historical occurrences have been searched and a reasonable search of potential habitat has been completed. Extirpated taxa are not a current conservation priority.

SXC Elements presumed extirpated from New Jersey, but native populations collected from the wild exist in cultivation.

SZ Not of practical conservation concern in New Jersey, because there are no definable occurrences, although the taxon is native and appears regularly in the state. An SZ rank will generally be used for long distance migrants whose occurrences during their migrations are too irregular (in terms of repeated visitation to the same locations), transitory, and dispersed to be reliably identified, mapped and protected. In other words, the migrant regularly passes through the state, but enduring, mappable element occurrences cannot be defined.

Typically, the SZ rank applies to a non-breeding population (N) in the state - for example, birds on migration. An SZ rank may in a few instances also apply to a breeding population (B), for example certain lepidoptera which regularly die out every year with no significant return migration.

Although the SZ rank typically applies to migrants, it should not be used indiscriminately. Just because a species is on migration does not mean it receives an SZ rank. SZ will only apply when the migrants occur in an irregular, transitory and dispersed manner.

B Refers to the breeding population of the element in the state.

N Refers to the non-breeding population of the element in the state.

T Element ranks containing a "T" indicate that the infraspecific taxon is being ranked differently than the full species. For example Stachys palustris var. homotricha is ranked "G5T? SH" meaning the full species is globally secure but the global rarity of the var. homotricha has not been determined; in New Jersey the variety is ranked historic.

Q Elements containing a "Q" in the global portion of its rank indicates that the taxon is of questionable, or uncertain taxonomical standing, e.g., some authors regard it as a full species, while others treat it at the subspecific level.

.1 Elements only, ever documented from a single location.

Note: To express uncertainty, the most likely rank is assigned and a question mark added (e.g., G2?). A range is indicated by combining two ranks (e.g., G1G2, S1S3).


These codes refer to whether the identification of the species or community has been checked by a reliable individual and is indicative of significant habitat. These codes are not included on all Natural Heritage Reports.

Y Identification has been verified and is indicative of significant habitat.

BLANK Identification has not been verified but there is no reason to believe it is not indicative of significant habitat.

? Either it has not been determined if the record is indicative of significant habitat or the identification of the species or community may be confusing or disputed.

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