The Natural Heritage Inventory (NHI) documents the biodiversity of native plants, animals and natural communities in the state. NHI follows a common methodology used by the network of Natural Heritage programs and Conservation Data Centers in the United States and internationally. These programs and data centers are linked together by NatureServe, a non-profit organization committed to connecting science and conservation.
NHI maintains a robust spatial (GIS) database of species and natural community observations used in conservation and regulatory planning.
Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species
Threatened and Endangered Species
The following list of plants and animals is adopted as the Vermont Endangered and Threatened Species List pursuant to 10 V.S.A., Chapter 123. The term endangered generally refers to species whose continued existence as a viable component of the state's wild fauna or flora is in jeopardy, while threatened species is defined as a species whose numbers are significantly declining because of loss of habitat or human disturbance, and unless protected will become an endangered species.
A rare species is one that has only a few populations in the state and that faces threats to its continued existence in Vermont. Rare species face threats from development of their habitat, harassment, collection, and suppression of natural processes, such as fire.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department uses a ranking scheme that describes the rarity of species in Vermont. The range is from S1 (very rare) to S5 (common and widespread).
Species are assigned a rank based on the number of known occurrences, the population size, and the degree to which the populations are threatened. For example, creeping juniper and lake sturgeon are S1 species, whereas sugar maple and raccoons are S5 species.
Using this system, VFWD biologists and other experts assign an S1 rank to a species when it may occur in five or fewer populations in the state and/or when the species is threatened with extinction. Rare species with six to 20 populations are given an S2 rank; threats are also considered. Species with 21 to 100 populations are assigned a S3 rank and are generally considered to be uncommon or a watch-list species.
Natural communities are an assemblage of plants and animals that are found
recurring across a specific landscape under similar environmental conditions
where natural processes, rather than human disturbances, prevail. Below are
documents related to natural communities.
Vernal pools are small depressions in forests that fill with water in the spring and fall. They provide breeding habitat for many salamanders and frogs and have characteristic populations of fairy shrimp, fingernail clams, snails, water fleas, and copepods. Vegetation is usually sparse or absent, although adjacent forest trees may shade the pool.
Below are additional forms related to rare, threatened and endangered species in Vermont