For 30 years, biologists with the Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) have been combing the state, looking for remnants of native vegetation and rare plant and animal species. The primary focus of MBS is to document the state's rarest species and habitats, but MBS has also added a wealth of information on Minnesota's common plants and animals.
Why do a survey?
Surveys tell us what makes up the broad range of Minnesota's animals, plants and plant communities - its biological diversity - where they are and how they are doing. Survey data help us make wiser decisions toward protecting habitat and managing protected lands. MBS data spans from historic records to new survey data, giving us a glimpse at how Minnesota's landscapes change over time. MBS biologists have documented 32 native animals, plants, lichens and mosses not previously known to occur in the state. MBS data have been central to the establishment of numerous Scientific & Natural Areas, Nature Conservancy Preserves, additions to Minnesota State Parks, and other conservation lands.
How it began
In 1987, with funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and The Nature Conservancy, MBS began to systematically survey the state's remaining native forests, prairies, and wetlands. This investment in MBS has helped Minnesota become a national leader in bringing information on biodiversity into conservation efforts, land management, and planning.
As MBS celebrates its 30th anniversary, the program continues to fill in data gaps on little-known species and communities, and to build upon the years of data collection to monitor change in Minnesota's biological diversity.