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NATURAL HERITAGE

Information Management

A major strength of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program is its development of a scientific framework to guide decision making and set priorities. Key to this scientific underpinning is the ability, through the Information Management Program, to maintain and make available the information necessary to make and validate decisions.

The Information Management section manages all natural heritage resource data in a highly integrated information management system called Biotics 4. The computer component of Biotics4 is a GIS mapping front end with an Oracle database management backend consisting of hundreds of interrelated computer files and thousands of fields of information. This system is extremely powerful in its capabilities for data retrieval, data manipulation, and report generation. Well-organized cross-referenced paper files hold additional extensive data on natural heritage resource locations, natural heritage resource elements, priority conservation sites, and managed areas (such as parks and nature preserves).

Virginia Natural Heritage Program data are widely used, both within DCR-DNH and by other land and resource managers and citizens in the Commonwealth:

  • to set biological diversity protection priorities for the roughly 2000 conservation sites identified by the Natural Heritage Program;
  • to provide a scientific basis for land management planning;

Click to see the staff list of the Information Management section.