Biotics - Natural Heritage Database

ALNHP maintains a comprehensive database on Alabama's rare and imperiled plant and animal species and natural communities and natural areas of conservation concern. The database focuses on individual components of Alabama's natural diversity. These include distinct biotic communities, special plant and animal species, and other natural features that are rare or endangered at the state or national level. Critical elements are identified and compared to ensure that conservation efforts focus on the most threatened and highest quality examples. Information on the distribution, biology, and status of these elements is acquired and used to guide conservation action and facilitate wise management of Alabama's rich biodiversity and natural resources. A primary objective is ensuring that the database is scientifically credible, current, accurate, and readily available for use by resource managers and land developers.

The information contained within ALNHP's database was compiled from a broad range of sources. One of the primary sources is field surveys conducted by ALNHP staff with expertise in botany, zoology, and ecology. Field surveys focus on species and communities which are rare or imperiled globally or in Alabama. Aerial photographs, geology, soil and topographic maps and a good understanding of the species and communities habitat requirements direct the scientists efforts. Other sources of information include data from museum and herbarium collection records, publications, unpublished reports, and communication with scientific experts and knowledgeable individuals conducting research in Alabama. Maintaining and updating the database is a continuous, ongoing process in which the database is continuously updated and improved as new information is obtained.

ALNHP uses a standardized information management system, Biotics, to compile and track biodiversity data including taxonomy, distribution, status, biology, population trends, and conservation needs of these species and natural communities. We also track non-biological information including land ownership type, land-use and management, distribution of protected areas, and threats to species or their habitat. Records are indexed by a number of criteria, including name, location, endangerment status, watershed, and land ownership. Biotics is a highly integrated information management system consisting of a GIS mapping front end with an Oracle database management backend. Biotics incorporates custom applications for spatial data management, tabular data management, data import/export and reconciliation, and reporting. The spatial component of the system is a custom geographic information system (GIS) application that supports basic digital mapping, spatial analyses, and data visualization. Data can be retrieved from the system in a variety of formats tailored to the varying needs of different users.

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2012