PROTECTING WISCONSIN'S BIODIVERSITY
Wisconsin's natural communities
Forbes Springs State Natural Area. Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.
The natural communities on Wisconsin's Natural Heritage Working List are defined by the assemblage of different plant and animal species that live together in a particular area, at a particular time. Natural communities may be named for their dominant plant species, for example, pine barrens, sedge meadows and oak savannas, a prominent environmental feature, such as Great Lakes dune or dry cliff, or a combination of these factors. Natural communities range in size from less than an acre to thousands of acres and are dynamic and always changing. Some changes may be rapid while other changes are too slow for many humans to notice during their brief lifetimes. The Natural Heritage Inventory tracks examples of all types of Wisconsin's natural communities that are deemed significant because of their undisturbed condition, size, what occurs around them or for other reasons. The Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan identified additional aquatic and anthropogenic habitats important for Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
Community pages provide descriptions, general locations and other information for Wisconsin's natural communities. The communities are presented in aggregated groups. See the Working List for rank definitions.