About Species Ranking

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An important responsibility of ORBIC is to review and rank rare, threatened, and endangered species of Oregon. We assign Heritage Ranks to animals, plants, and fungi that are or may become rare in Oregon. Heritage Ranks are decided through expert review, discussion, input from interested parties, and trends in sightings and population data.

Heritage Ranks

The Heritage Ranks are a part of an international ranking system first developed by The Nature Conservancy and now managed by NatureServe. This system is used by Heritage programs in all 50 states in the USA, at the 8 Canadian Conservation Data Centres, and network partners in several Latin American countries. A brief definition of these ranks can be found at our Rank Definitions page. You can find more detailed discussion of these ranks at NatureServe's Conservation Status page.

In addition to ranking each species' conservation status, Heritage programs also rank each occurrence, or population group, of species that are found in each state. If you are interested in learning how we rank occurrences, see the Ranking Species Occurrences - A Generic Approach article by NatureServe, updated in January 2008. More background information on occurrence ranking can be found in the Natureserve Methodology for Assigning Ranks publication from April 2009.

State and Federal Ranking Systems

In addition to our Heritage Ranks, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture also rank species. We include these rankings in our publication, Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Oregon.

You can view the current ODFW and USFWS rankings for vertebrates at ODFW's Wildlife Division. ODFW has also compiled a Sensitive Species list to address species which are not currently considered threatened but which may need proactive protection to maintain their populations. Current ODA plant listings are found at their Plant Conservation pages.

Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species of Oregon

ORBIC publishes this book every two or three years with updated ranks for rare species in Oregon. The latest version of the RTE book is available as a PDF file at our Rare Species Lists page. Archived PDF versions of the RTE books are also available on this page. Paper copies of older editions of the book may be available. If you are interested in these paper editions, please contact lindsey.koepke@pdx.edu. Future editions of the RTE book will be available as a PDF file only.

Photo of Columbia sharp-tailed grouse
© Michael Durham
 

 © 2012 Institute for Natural Resources