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Filtering by Tag: Michigan-State-University-Extension

Website lets you search for over 600 of Michigan's rare plants and animals

Andrew Norton

Michigan's Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) is an organization that is a part of the Michigan State University Extension. On their website you will find a searchable database of 665 of Michigan's rare plants and animals (I never knew there were so many that are considered rare). The search is customizable and allows users to search "based on name, habitat, survey time, protection status or rank."

Why have such a website? Let the MNFI mission statement answer that -

"To actively contribute to decisions that impact the conservation of biological and ecological diversity by collecting, analyzing, and communicating information about rare and declining plants and animals, and the array of natural communities and ecosystems native to Michigan."

I would like to see specific geographic areas (like southwest Michigan, or even by county) as one of the search parameters. The habitat parameter is a bit confusing to those not in the know as to what defines, for instance, a "Palustrine wet meadow" without the benefit of a web search (why should you have to do a search so you can perform a search?).

By the way, Palustrine comes from the Latin word "palus" or marsh. Palustrine systems are basically inland wetlands that lack a source of flowing water and contain "ocean derived salts in concentrations of less than .05%."

I just wondered what rare animals and plants were in our general area, but again, the search does not have a specific location delimiter. Otherwise, this is a pretty neat deal for educators and those that want to know more about the area we live in.

P.S. I came across the MNFI website while browsing our state website, Your tax dollars pay for it, you might as well use it. I always find interesting stuff there. :)