As a botanist in the US Forest Service, I often check the "NatureServe Explorer" web site to find important information about a rare plant. NatureServe provides one-stop-shopping for global and state ranks (numerical scores from 1 to 5 indicating status from "critically imperiled"to "secure" based on rarity and threats). NatureServe's national system allows the Forest Service to take a more consistent approach nation-wide in considering relative rarity of species across state lines and among the many different National Forests and National Grasslands we manage for the public. We use this information to focus limited funds and our efforts to conserve biological diversity. Without NatureServe, we would not have this consistency.
NatureServe serves a critical role in accumulating, analyzing, and disseminating information on biological diversity to inform conservation planning and implementation.
NatureServe has many strengths, but what resonates with me is the combination of global vision with a local presence. Through its natural heritage programs and conservation data centres, NatureServe is able to provide objective biodiversity data and expertise to solve problems at the local level. Through its vast network of member programs and data resources, NatureServe is able to place this local biodiversity data in both regional and global contexts -- a valuable service not available anywhere else.
I think most people expect conservation science information from NatureServe. Well, so do I, but more importantly, I find that NS staff provide leadership in conservation science and data delelopment. They listen to what we know or need to know and forge into data development that is responsive and progressive. Their influence is obvious when I participate in conservation planning forums, not only at the national level but at every scale. Sometimes NS staff are at the table. Even when they are not, people that are present speak to the perspectives and data products that I recognize from NS leaders. I think the conservation community expects a lot from NS. I know that I do. - Dennis Figg
I personally have known and worked with many of the staff in NatureServe for many years. They are all top-notch professionals who are enormously dedicated to nature conservation and providing North America in particular with biodiversity information that all public and non-profit conservation organizations must have to get our jobs done. Their classifications of ecosystems and conservation rankings of species are everyday parlance of most state and federal natural resource agencies. NatureServe fills a very unique niche among conservation nonprofits - they along with state natural heritage programs are managers and disseminators of invaluable data on the status and distribution of plants, animals, and habitats in North America.
As a staff member of a state natural areas agency, I have worked with NatureServe since it was created. NatureServe gives our state agency National/International priorities on the species and natural communities we protect, keeps us in communication with other similar programs around the nation and the world, allows us to add our data to analyses of larger areas, provides us with common classifications and nomenclature, and provides many other services. Simply, NatureServe makes us more important that we would be otherwise. We depend on them!
More than just the leading source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems in the Americas, NatureServe is full of bright, intelligent and passionate people who find effective ways to support conservation action with new technologies and partnerships.
NatureServe provides a framework for managing and sharing conservation information that is not available from any other source. It also plays a critical role in coordinating the efforts of the 85 US and international natural heritage programs and conservation data centers. NatureServe and the partner programs play a significant role supporting the protection of rare species and the establishment of conservation lands across North American and Central America. These conservation lands, whether state or national parks, wildlife refuges, or watershed protection initiatives are critically important to the ecological health of our planet and the well-being of its citizens.
As a former research associate and an ecologist currently working in Ontario, Canada, I use NatureServe's Biodiversity Explorer tool routinely to obtain information on conservation priority species. I have personally benefited from the many insightful articles and papers written by NatureServe's network of conservation experts.
Naturserve provides an invaluable clearing-house for biodiversity information. Their committment to networking state agencies is commendable and necesssary. Many other efforts have been made to create biodiversity hubs and they have failed or been only variably used.