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Natural Heritage Elements

                 The elements of our natural heritage - all the things that are important to consider when planning for conservation - range from individual species and their particular habitat needs to large landscapes and the many species and ecological functions they support.

Landscape Level — These elements represent a diversity of landscapes and also address the conservation requirements of species that have large ranges, that need large forest areas, or that need specific kinds of physical settings:

Community Level — These elements comprise groups of species and their physical settings and are especially useful in conserving many natural resource values simultaneously:

Species Level — These elements require special attention because we cannot be assured of capturing them through landscape-level or community-level conservation:


What is included for each Natural Heritage Element

Definition: A brief definition of the element. 

Importance: Why the element is important to Vermont 's natural heritage, what threatens it, and why to consider it in a conservation or stewardship plan. 

Conservation Goals: Examples of conservation goals that a town or planning group might adopt for that element. 

Obtaining and Interpreting Information: A list of places - agencies, organizations, and publications - where one can get maps and information on the various elements (contact information is given in the Appendix), an example of a map showing locations of the element, and some information on how to interpret the data. In some cases, information is provided on how to gather new field data on the element. 

Conservation Strategies: Example of specific conservation strategies - from encouraging private landowners to support sustainable timber harvesting, to land acquisition, to zoning regulations - that can help achieve each of the sample conservation goals presented. 

Note: The list of strategies given for each element is not exhaustive. It is important to consider strategies identified for all elements as well as the information presented in Tools to be sure that all applicable and appropriate strategies are applied to the unique circumstances of each town or area of interest. The goals and strategies presented in this section represent ideas and offer choices and opportunities to Vermont communities, organizations, and individuals planning for conservation and stewardship. They are not, however, the only strategies or goals for realizing the conservation and stewardship of Vermont 's natural heritage of fish, wildlife, and diverse landscapes and habitats.



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