Since 1973, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) has been working to conserve Arkansas’s natural landscape. Staff conduct 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. The data is used for environmental planning purposes and provided to organizations and individuals involved with Arkansas conservation efforts, economic development, scientific research, and education. To fulfill these responsibilities, the ANHC employs a professional staff dedicated to protecting our state’s natural diversity.
Based on sound scientific research, the ANHC evaluates the state’s ecologically important sites to set priorities for conservation within the statewide 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 — some have difficult terrain while others have developed trails. However, most natural areas are well suited for low-impact activities such as hiking and bird-watching, and many others offer hunting opportunities in accordance with
regulations established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
In addition, the ANHC’s public outreach efforts strive to make information on biodiversity interesting, easy to find, and easy to understand. The ANHC's educational programming and resources address state and national science standards using Arkansas-specific information, which is made available to teachers and students. Our goal is to provide an introduction to the natural treasures that are the heritage of every citizen in Arkansas.