Wednesday, January 10, 2024

North Carolina's Natural Heritage Program Unveils Comprehensive Classification of the State's Natural Communities

Jan 10, 2024

North Carolina's Natural Heritage Program proudly announces the completion of the "Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carolina," a comprehensive guidebook that serves as a definitive resource for ecologists, researchers, and conservationists.

Available for free online, the PDF version can be accessed at:

This guidebook provides detailed descriptions of the 343 natural community types recognized in North Carolina. It also provides insights into ecological variations and dynamics. Factors considered within this classification include vegetation composition, physical characteristics, animal groups, land formations, soil attributes, water systems, and prevalent natural disturbance patterns.

Authored by ecologist Michael Schafale, this collection summarizes more than 40 years of meticulous fieldwork conducted by the Natural Heritage Program staff and dedicated contributors. It encapsulates observations made in the most natural, least-altered environments across the state.

Its accessibility online ensures a wide audience, including professionals and enthusiasts, can benefit from its extensive insights and contributions to the field of ecology.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the North Carolina Symphony, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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