Natural heritage

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Natural heritage refers to the sum total of the elements of biodiversity, including flora and fauna, ecosystems and geological structures. It forms part of our natural resources.



Heritage is that which is inherited from past generations, maintained in the present, and bestowed to future generations. [1] The term "natural heritage", derived from "natural inheritance", pre-dates the term "biodiversity". It is a less scientific term and more easily comprehended in some ways by the wider audience interested in conservation.

The term was used in this context in the United States when Jimmy Carter set up the Georgia Heritage Trust [2] while he was governor of Georgia; [3] Carter's trust dealt with both natural and cultural heritage. [4] [5] It would appear that Carter picked the term up from Lyndon Johnson, [6] who used it in a 1966 Message to Congress. (He may have gotten the term from his wife Lady Bird Johnson who was personally interested in conservation.) President Johnson signed the Wilderness Act of 1964.

The term "Natural Heritage" was picked up by the Science Division of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) when, under Robert E. Jenkins, Jr., it launched in 1974 what ultimately became the network of state natural heritage programs—one in each state, all using the same methodology and all supported permanently by state governments because they scientifically document conservation priorities and facilitate science-based environmental reviews. [7] When this network was extended outside the United States, the term "Conservation Data Center (or Centre)" was suggested by Guillermo Mann and came to be preferred for programs outside the US[ citation needed ]. Despite the name difference, these programs, too, use the same core methodology as the 50 state natural heritage programs. In 1994 The network of natural heritage programs formed a membership association to work together on projects of common interest: the Association for Biodiversity Information (ABI). In 1999, Through an agreement with The Nature Conservancy, ABI expanded and assumed responsibility for the scientific databases, information, and tools developed by TNC in support of the network of natural heritage programs. In 2001, ABI changed its name to NatureServe. [8] NatureServe continues to serve as the hub of the NatureServe Network, a collaboration of 86 governmental and non-governmental programs including natural heritage programs and conservation data centers located in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. [9]

An important site of natural heritage or cultural heritage can be listed as a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. The UNESCO programme, catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. As of March 2012, there are 936 World Heritage Sites: 725 cultural, 183 natural, and 28 mixed properties, in 153 countries.

The 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention established that biological resources, such as plants, were the common heritage of mankind or as was expressed in the preamble: "need to be preserved as part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole". These rules probably inspired the creation of great public banks of genetic resources, located outside the source-countries.

New global agreements (e.g., the Convention on Biological Diversity), national rights over biological resources (not property). The idea of static conservation of biodiversity is disappearing and being replaced by the idea of dynamic conservation, through the notion of resource and innovation.

The new agreements commit countries to conserve biodiversity, develop resources for sustainability and share the benefits resulting from their use. Under new rules, it is expected that bioprospecting or collection of natural products has to be allowed by the biodiversity-rich country, in exchange for a share of the benefits.

In 2005, the World Heritage Marine Programme was established to protect marine areas with Outstanding Universal Values.

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Protected area</span> Areas protected for having ecological or cultural importance

Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. Protected areas are those areas in which human presence or the exploitation of natural resources is limited.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International Union for Conservation of Nature</span> International organization

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".

This is an index of conservation topics. It is an alphabetical index of articles relating to conservation biology and conservation of the natural environment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nature reserve</span> Protected area for flora, fauna or features of geological interest

A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for purposes of conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. They may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park. Various jurisdictions may use other terminology, such as ecological protection area or private protected area in legislation and in official titles of the reserves.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ramsar Convention</span> International treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of Ramsar sites (wetlands). It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Nature Conservancy</span> Global charitable environmental organization

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. As of 2021, it works via affiliates or branches in 79 countries and territories, as well as across every state in the US.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">NatureServe conservation status</span> Conservation status assigned by the NatureServe

The NatureServe conservation status system, maintained and presented by NatureServe in cooperation with the Natural Heritage Network, was developed in the United States in the 1980s by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as a means for ranking or categorizing the relative imperilment of species of plants, animals, or other organisms, as well as natural ecological communities, on the global, national or subnational levels. These designations are also referred to as NatureServe ranks, NatureServe statuses, or Natural Heritage ranks. While the Nature Conservancy is no longer substantially involved in the maintenance of these ranks, the name TNC ranks is still sometimes encountered for them.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">NatureServe</span> American non-profit organization

NatureServe, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Arlington County, Virginia, US, that provides proprietary wildlife conservation-related data, tools, and services to private and government clients, partner organizations, and the public. NatureServe reports being "headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with regional offices in four U.S. locations and in Canada." In calendar year 2011 they reported having 86 employees, 6 volunteers, and 15 independent officers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cultural heritage</span> Physical artifact or intangible attribute of a society inherited from past generations

Cultural heritage is the heritage of tangible and intangible heritage assets of a group or society that is inherited from past generations. Not all heritages of past generations are "heritage"; rather, heritage is a product of selection by society.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Golden Gate Biosphere Network</span>

The Golden Gate Biosphere Network is an internationally recognized voluntary coalition of federal, state, and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, universities, and private partners within the Golden Gate Biosphere region. The Network works towards protecting the biosphere region's biodiversity and conserving its natural resources to maintain the quality of life for people within the region. The Network has been part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme since 1988 and is part of the US Biosphere Network and EuroMAB. It is recognized by UNESCO due to the significant biodiversity of the region, as well as the Network's efforts to demonstrate and promote a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">World Heritage Convention</span> 1972 international treaty

The World Heritage Convention, formally the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, is an international treaty signed on 23 November 1972, which created the World Heritage Sites, with the primary goals of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The convention, a signed document of international agreement, guides the work of the World Heritage Committee. It was developed over a seven-year period (1965–1972).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Federal Agency for Nature Conservation</span> Federal office

The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation is the German government's scientific authority with responsibility for national and international nature conservation. BfN is one of the government's departmental research agencies and reports to the German Environment Ministry (BMU).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">World Database on Protected Areas</span>

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the largest assembly of data on the world's terrestrial and marine protected areas, containing more than 260,000 protected areas as of August 2020, with records covering 245 countries and territories throughout the world. The WDPA is a joint venture between the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Protected Areas.

Tundi Agardy is a marine conservationist and the founder of Sound Seas – a Washington DC-based group specializing in working at the nexus of marine science and policy in order to safeguard ocean life.

A sacred natural site is a natural feature or a large area of land or water having special spiritual significance to peoples and communities. Sacred natural sites consist of all types of natural features including mountains, hills, forests, groves, trees, rivers, lakes, lagoons, caves, islands and springs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Index of biodiversity articles</span>

This is a list of topics in biodiversity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Private protected areas in Australia</span>

In 2010, Australia formulated a strategy for conserving land under the National Reserve System, which would be "a national network of public, Indigenous and private protected areas over land and inland water". States, territories and the commonwealth have enacted legislation to create and protect private lands "in perpetuity". Additionally, they have created mechanisms to fund the conservation of biodiversity in the shorter term. See for example, The Two Rivers Catchment Reserve.


  1. Ann Marie Sullivan, Cultural Heritage & New Media: A Future for the Past, 15 J. MARSHALL REV. INTELL. PROP. L. 604 (2016)
  2. The creation of the Heritage Trust Commission, Georgia Heritage Trust Act, Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) Section 12-3-70
  3. President Jimmy Carter Archived 2007-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Tennessee Alumnus Magazine - Spring 2007". Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-06-25. Paul Pritchard, founder and president of the National Park Trust
  5. p. 311, The Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004 By James F. Cook, ISBN   0-86554-954-0, 2005 Mercer University Press
  6. Kiely, Kathy (2009-01-22). "Lady Bird Johnson dies at 94". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  7. Adams, Jonathan S., 1961- (2006). The future of the wild : radical conservation for a crowded world. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN   0-8070-8510-3. OCLC   58563371.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. NatureServe History, The history of the Virginia-based conservation non-profit NatureServe.
  9. About the NatureServe Network