Natural Communities

What is a Natural Community?

Natural communities are defined as “an assemblage of plants and animals that repeats across the landscape wherever similar environmental conditions occur.” It is a method used to classify the various landscapes found in Vermont according to the grouping of plants and animals that appear on any given site. Examples of natural communities in Vermont include Rich Northern Hardwood Forest, Mesic Red Oak-Northern Hardwood Forest and Northern White Cedar Swamp.

Why Do Natural Communities Matter?

Why is this important? When properly mapped, knowing the natural communities that are found on your property presents a picture of its natural diversity. This allows the property to be managed to maximize biodiversity, which is often a landowner goal . Also, there a number of significant natural communities that have been identified in Vermont, such as Mesic Clayplain Forest and Cold-Air Talus Woodland. These significant natural communities can be protected as an Ecologically Significant Treatment Area (ESTA) if your land is enrolled in the Current Use program.