About Georgia Rare Natural Elements Conservation Data

Rare natural elements: Plant and animal populations, natural communities, bird nesting colonies, caves and other features in nature that are considered important for biodiversity conservation. Do not confuse the adjective, "rare", used here with the Georgia protection status "R - Listed as rare" (see Georgia Protection Status below).

Biotics: A biodiversity conservation database developed and maintained by NatureServe, Arlington Virginia, that is used by Georgia DNR to hold and interpret information about rare natural elements in Georgia. Biotics data is widely used by many private and public agencies.

Element Occurrences (EOs): Locations of rare natural elements that are monitored in the field and recorded in the Biotics database.

State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP): A plan developed by each state for conserving wildlife and habitats before they become too rare or expensive to restore. Get more information about Georgia's SWAP.

Hierarchy of Georgia Biodiversity Conservation Statuses
Georgia Biodiversity Conservation Statuses Hierarchy

Tracked Special Concern: Rare natural elements with occurrence data (EOs) maintained in the Biotics conservation database. Contains protected and SWAP species, but also unprotected species, rare plant communities and other rare natural elements considered important for biodiversity conservation.

SWAP High Priority: Species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) in Georgia’s SWAP. Contains both protected and unprotected species.

Georgia Protected: Species with protection status under Georgia’s Endangered Wildlife Act or Wildflower Preservation Act. Georgia’s protected species include U.S. protected species.

U.S. Protected: Species protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).


Data used to generate information in this data portal comes from Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, Nongame Conservation Section's instance of NatureServe Biotics biodiversity conservation database.

Georgia Rare Element Conservation Database Attributes

SNAMEScientific Name used by GA-DNR, Nongame Conservation Section
GNAMEScientific Name used by NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia
SCOMNAMECommon name used by GA-DNR, Nongame Conservation Section
ELCODEUnique code assigned to each element in Biotics
SPROTState of Georgia Protection Status
USESAUS protection status under the Endangered Species Act
SRANKState rarity rank
GRANKGlobal rarity rank
SWAP_STATUSStatus of State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) species of greatest conservation need
AREAUnit area within map unit sets used in this data portal; for example, Georgia counties and HUC10 watersheds.
SSHABITATShort description of habitat species typically occurs in Georgia

Georgia Protection Status (Georgia Department of Natural Resources, GA-DNR)

E Listed as endangered—A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or part of its range.
T Listed as threatened—A species which is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout all or parts of its range.
R Listed as rare—A species which may not be endangered or threatened but which should be protected because of its scarcity.
U Listed as unusual (and thus deserving of special consideration)—Plants subject to commercial exploitation would have this status.

US Federal Protection Status (US Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS)

LE Listed as endangered—The most critically imperiled species. A species that may become extinct or disappear from a significant part of its range if not immediately protected.
LT Listed as threatened—The next most critical level of threatened species. A species that may become endangered if not protected.
PE or PT Candidate species—currently proposed for listing as endangered or threatened.
C Candidate species—presently under status review for federal listing for which adequate information exists on biological vulnerability and threats to list the taxa as endangered or threatened.
PDL Proposed for delisting
E(S/A) or T(S/A) Similarity of appearance—Listed as endangered or threatened because of similarity of appearance.
(PS) Partial status— status in only a portion of the species' range. Typically indicated in a "full" species record where an infraspecific taxon or population has U.S. ESA status, but the entire species does not.

Descriptions of federal status on this page have been adapted from information provided by NatureServe. Deteils can be found at Listings under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

State Rank (Georgia Conservation Status)

SX Presumed Extirpated—Species or ecosystem is believed to be extirpated from Georgia. Not located despite intensive searches of historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered.
SH Possibly Extirpated—Known from only historical records but still some hope of rediscovery. There is evidence that the species or ecosystem may no longer be present in Georgia, but not enough to state this with certainty. Examples of such evidence include (1) that a species has not been documented in approximately 20-40 years despite some searching or some evidence of significant habitat loss or degradation; (2) that a species or ecosystem has been searched for unsuccessfully, but not thoroughly enough to presume that it is no longer present in the state.
S1 Critically Imperiled—Critically imperiled in Georgia because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.
S2 Imperiled—Imperiled in Georgia because of rarity due to very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from state.
S3 Vulnerable—Vulnerable in the state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations, recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.
S4 Apparently Secure—Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.
S5 Secure—Common, widespread, and abundant in Georgia.
S#S# Range Rank—A numeric range rank (e.g., S2S3 or S1S3) is used to indicate any range of uncertainty about the status of the species or ecosystem. Ranges cannot skip more than two ranks (e.g., SU is used rather than S1S4).
SU Unrankable—Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends.
SNR Unranked—Georgia conservation status not yet assessed.
SNA Not Applicable—A conservation status rank is not applicable because the species or ecosystem is not a suitable target for conservation activities

Descriptions of state ranks on this page have been adapted from information provided by NatureServe. Deteils can be found at NatureServe Conservation Status.

Global Rank (Global Conservation Status)

GX Presumed Extinct (species)—Not located despite intensive searches and virtually no likelihood of rediscovery.
Eliminated (ecological communities)—Eliminated throughout its range, with no restoration potential due to extinction of dominant or characteristic taxa and/or elimination of the sites and disturbance factors on which the type depends.
GH Possibly Extinct (species) Eliminated (ecological communities and systems)—Known from only historical occurrences but still some hope of rediscovery. There is evidence that the species may be extinct or the ecosystem may be eliminated throughout its range, but not enough to state this with certainty. Examples of such evidence include (1) that a species has not been documented in approximately 20-40 years despite some searching or some evidence of significant habitat loss or degradation; (2) that a species or ecosystem has been searched for unsuccessfully, but not thoroughly enough to presume that it is extinct or eliminated throughout its range.
G1 Critically Imperiled—At very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer populations), very steep declines, or other factors.
G2 Imperiled—At high risk of extinction or elimination due to very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, or other factors.
G3 Vulnerable—At moderate risk of extinction or elimination due to a restricted range, relatively few populations, recent and widespread declines, or other factors.
G4 Apparently Secure—Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.
G5 Secure—Common; widespread and abundant.
G#G# Range Rank—A numeric range rank (e.g., G2G3, G1G3) is used to indicate the range of uncertainty about the exact status of a taxon or ecosystem type. Ranges cannot skip more than two ranks (e.g., GU should be used rather than G1G4).
GU Unrankable—Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends. NOTE: Whenever possible (when the range of uncertainty is three consecutive ranks or less), a range rank (e.g., G2G3) should be used to delineate the limits (range) of uncertainty.
GNR Unranked—Global rank not yet assessed.
GNA Not Applicable—A conservation status rank is not applicable because the species is not a suitable target for conservation activities.
? Inexact Numeric Rank—Denotes inexact numeric rank; this should not be used with any of the Variant Global Conservation Status Ranks or GX or GH.
Q Questionable taxonomy that may reduce conservation priority—Distinctiveness of this entity as a taxon or ecosystem type at the current level is questionable; resolution of this uncertainty may result in change from a species to a subspecies or hybrid, or inclusion of this taxon or type in another taxon or type, with the resulting taxon having a lower-priority (numerically higher) conservation status rank. The SQ modifier is only used at a global level and not at a national or subnational level.
C Captive or Cultivated Only—Taxon at present is extinct in the wild across their entire native range but is extant in cultivation, in captivity, as a naturalized population (or populations) outside their native range, or as a reintroduced population not yet established. The SC modifier is only used at a global level and not at a national or subnational level. Possible ranks are GXC or GHC.
T# Infraspecific Taxon (trinomial)—The status of infraspecific taxa (subspecies or varieties) are indicated by a ST-rank following the species' global rank. Rules for assigning T-ranks follow the same principles outlined above. For example, the global rank of a critically imperiled subspecies of an otherwise widespread and common species would be G5T1. A T subrank cannot imply the subspecies or variety is more abundant than the species . For example, a G1T2 subrank should not occur. A vertebrate animal population, (e.g., listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act or assigned candidate status) may be tracked as an infraspecific taxon and given a T-rank; in such cases a Q is used after the T-rank to denote the taxon's informal taxonomic status.

Descriptions of global rank on this page have been adapted from information provided by NatureServe. Deteils can be found at NatureServe Conservation Status.

Map unit sets used in this data portal

Counties Georgia County Outlines
Quarter Quads ¼ of a USGS 7.5-minute quadrangle map
HUC8 Watersheds USGS 8 digit watersheds
HUC10 Watersheds USGS 10 digit watersheds
Level 3 & 4 Ecoregions EPA Level III & IV Ecoregions
24 km Hexagon Grid Hexagon grid with centers separated by 24 km (~15 mi) and with ~500 km² (~200 mi²) each