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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Nature Preserves > Heritage Data Center > High Quality Natural Communities of Indiana High Quality Natural Communities

A Natural Region is a major, generalized unit of the landscape where a distinctive assemblage of natural features is present. It is part of a classification system that integrates several natural features to identify a natural region, including:

  • Climate
  • Soils
  • Glacial history
  • Topography
  • Exposed bedrock
  • Presettlement vegetation
  • Species composition
  • Physiography
  • Flora and fauna distribution

A Section

A Section is a  subunit of a natural region where sufficient differences are evident such that recognition is warranted.

A Natural Community

A natural community is a group of organisms, flora and fauna, that are interrelated with each other and their environment. They are identified by such natural features as:

  • Soil moisture and reaction
  • Substrate
  • Species composition
  • Vegetation structure
  • Topographic position.

Some natural community types, such as mesic prairies or upland forests, can be distributed across multiple regions. This distribution may represent the limits of these communities that provide habitat for species not commonly found in a Natural Region or Section.

Types of Natural Communities

Indiana has many different types of natural communities. Below is a list of different types of natural communities. If an example of the natural community is located within a published nature preserve, the name and link will be provided below it.

Barrens

Cave

Cliff

Dune

Forest

Lake

Prairie

Savannah

Wetland

The Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center