Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory

Wildflowers with woman in far background
Purple prairie clover in Anderson County, Kansas

The Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory conducts directed surveys for rare species and their habitats, habitat assessments and surveys for a variety of natural community types. Specimen vouchers collected for our work are deposited at KU's Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center.

We are involved in restoration and remediation projects and in the development of site-specific management recommendations. Our staff members have expertise in the areas of field botany, plant ecology, wildlife ecology, zoology and GIS. Many of our projects provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. We collaborate with other scientists from the Kansas Biological Survey and KU, as well as with a variety of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, private corporations and individuals.

Initiated in 1986, the Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory, is a member of the NatureServe Network, a group of more than 60 independent natural heritage programs and conservation data centers throughout North America. Most natural heritage programs are state or provincial government agencies; others, such as ours, are housed at universities.

The first natural heritage inventory program was established by The Nature Conservancy in 1974, and over the following 20 years, it worked with partners to build a network of biological inventories covering most of the Western Hemisphere. In 1994, it transferred this role to NatureServe, which was established at that time as the Association for Biodiversity Information.

The natural heritage programs serve as the leading source of information on the precise locations and conditions of at-risk species and threatened ecosystems. Each maintains an sophisticated database, following consistent standards for collecting and managing data so this information may be shared across the NatureServe Network — providing seamless coverage of multi-jurisdictional data sets. This information serves as a valuable conservation tool for planners, landowners, natural area managers and others.

For more information, contact Jennifer Delisle, information manager for the Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory, 785-864-1538 or jdelisle@ku.edu.