Illinois Natural History Survey



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  • 217-333-6880


Parent Program(s):

  • Prairie Research Institute

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Since 1858, the Illinois Natural History Survey has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois---the state's biological memory. With a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, it is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. Over the years, its mission has remained fairly constant: to investigate the diversity, life histories, and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results so that those resources can be managed wisely; and to provide information to the public in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage.

-From The Illinois Steward, Spring 1999


The mission of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources.


The INHS will remain at the forefront of efforts to understand the biological processes and components that shape the Illinois environment. It also will serve as the primary source of information on the state's biological resources. In support of these functions, INHS will maintain scientifically rigorous research programs in basic and applied ecology, systematics, and biogeography that not only enhance traditional research strengths but are also capable of addressing emerging issues relevant to the conservation, management, and sustainable use of biotic resources. INHS also will act as a stable, long-term repository of biological collections and ecological data, promote cross-disciplinary collaboration to address complex ecological issues, incorporate new and more powerful analytical methods, and disseminate information on the ecology and biodiversity of Illinois to the scientific community, state government, and the general public.

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