Since 1973, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) has been working to conserve Arkansas’s natural landscape. ANHC’s professional staff conducts on-the-ground field surveys to locate and evaluate occurrences of natural communities and rare, threatened, and endangered species. Research findings and results are often published in scientific journals and presented at national, regional and state forums. This information is organized, analyzed, managed, and housed in the Arkansas Heritage Program biodiversity database. These field surveys and research projects have provided a wealth of information on more than 900 rare species that can be used to evaluate the relative imperilment of native species and shared for environmental planning purposes. We provide data to organizations and individuals involved with Arkansas conservation efforts, economic development, scientific research and education.
Based on sound scientific research, ANHC evaluates the state’s ecologically important sites to set priorities for conservation in the System of Natural Areas. Stewardship of these lands requires proven techniques to preserve and sometimes restore unique and diverse ecosystems. On the ground, public access to natural areas varies as some have terrain that could be treacherous. While only a few areas contain developed trails, several are perfectly suited to low impact activities such as hiking and bird-watching. Many natural areas offer hunting opportunities according to regulations established in cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
ANHC’s public outreach efforts strive to make information on biodiversity interesting, easy to find, and easy to understand. Educational programming is often offered to teachers and students to address state and national science standards using Arkansas-specific information. Our goal is to provide an introduction to the natural treasures that are the heritage of every citizen in Arkansas.
To fulfill these responsibilities, ANHC employs a professional staff dedicated to protecting our state’s natural diversity.