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Protecting sites with special biological significance. 

NatureServe, an international network of Natural Heritage Programs, assigns plant and animal species and natural communities a conservation status rank based on their rarity and conservation status across their entire range.  Significant natural communities include those which are rare in Virginia, as well as exemplary examples of more common types.  Species ranked “G1” (global rank 1/critically imperiled) or “G2” (global rank 2/imperiled) are most at risk. Forest certification systems, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, protect all “G1” and “G2” species and natural communities, even if they are not listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act.  State rankings are similar (“S1” and “S2”), but only indicate the status of the species within Virginia.  The term Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value is used to describe sites that support “G1” and “G2” species and communities.

If you are fortunate enough to have one or more state or globally ranked species or natural communities on your land, you should be particularly vigilant about protecting these species.  And, your efforts to manage rare species and significant natural communities have the added bonus of protecting more common species, keeping them off regulated lists.


Additional information can be found at: VA Natural Heritage Program

The lists of imperiled plant and animal species can be found at: Department of Conservation and Recreation