The Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program coordinates research which is designed to gather more information about our nongame animals and rare native plants. Through this research, we gather information about a species life cycle, habitat requirements, population dynamics, and reaction to management or recreational activities. This information is invaluable to us in our role as stewards of Minnesota's rare natural resources. The information is also used by other entities, public and private, who share that mission.

Research projects

Some research projects are of short duration, usually one or two years, and are designed to answer a particular question or set of questions about a species. However, some nongame animal and rare native plant species are in need of more intensive efforts to assess their population status. This may be for a variety of reasons, for example because their populations are extremely low, or because there is some significant threat to a large percentage of the population. Therefore, some projects are designed to be ongoing assessments of the status of a particular species - monitoring on a routine, yearly basis, over the course of many years.

Researcher in the field with collecting net.

Animal projects

(Conducted in cooperation with the DNR's Division of Wildlife.)


Collected plant specimen.

Plant projects

  • Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily Research and Monitoring
  • Prairie Bush Clover
  • Western Jacob's Ladder
  • Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (PDF/6 kb)
  • Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota
  • Ginseng Harvest Monitoring
  • Classification of Minnesota's Native Plant Communities

Research reports are available for research supported by the Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program.

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