Technical Bulletins & Special Reports

Technical Bulletin No. 0885: Managing Elements of Biodiversity in Sustainable Forestry Programs: Status and Utility of NatureServe's Information Resources to Forest Managers

Criteria and indicators for biodiversity are an important component of sustainable forestry, but identifying those elements of biodiversity that are most critical to sustainability has been a challenge. Over the past few years, a number of innovative approaches have been developed to provide some operational criteria by which progress can be measured. These include the concepts of Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value (FECV), developed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) and High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). These concepts embody the idea that at-risk species and ecological communities, and other ecological values, require special management by forest managers. This technical bulletin evaluates ways in which NatureServe’s biodiversity tracking systems and data support the identification and management of critical components of biodiversity, and identifies priorities for improving NatureServe’s utility to forest managers. Following the introduction, Section 2 describes NatureServe terminology; its methodologies for classifying, identifying, and managing data for at-risk elements of biodiversity; its analytical conservation services; and its clientele. Section 3 describes NatureServe’s system for identifying and classifying at-risk elements of biodiversity, which are species, subspecies, varieties, ecological communities, and ecological systems that are tracked in NatureServe’s databases. This section also describes the process of conducting a conservation status assessment (element ranks), particularly at the global level, whereby the elements that are critically imperiled or imperiled are identified. Section 4 describes element occurrences, which are NatureServe’s records of elements that are identified on the ground, usually in specific locations.