Biodiversity Data

Collection and management of data related to Rhode Island’s animals, plants, and ecological communities has been central to the mission of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey since its founding. A variety of information sources are available from RINHS or we can direct you to the right source. For more information or links on available information sources see our Resources page.

Biota of Rhode Island Information System (BORIIS)

RINHS maintains the most accurate and reliable database of Rhode Island species available. Called BORIIS, for Biota of Rhode Island Information System, this RINHS database is a custom MS Access application and linked ArcGIS project. Species lists developed during the publication of the Biota of Rhode Island volumes are the backbone of the database. Substantial efforts have been made over the years to incorporate records of species in museum collections, publications, and unpublished reports. BORIIS is NOT the source of reference for information on rare species formally listed in Rhode Island’s Natural Heritage list (for that, see below). For more information on BORIIS, including history, database organization, sources of data, and ways to contribute, please visit the BORIIS page.

Rare Species (Natural Heritage) Data

For more information on the Rhode Island Natural Heritage Program, its history and available resources, including how to get natural heritage data for your needs, visit the Rare Species and Ecological Communities page.


The Rhode Island Natural History Survey was the Rhode Island partner for NatureServe from 2004 to 2012. NatureServe is a network of natural heritage programs and conservation data centers. Its membership includes all U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and most other countries within the western hemisphere. RINHS continues to assist with data delivery for out-of-state and multi-jurisdictional research and education projects.

Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan

Rhode Island Natural History Survey was a key partner in the development of the Rhode Island Wildlife Action Plan in 2005 and in updating the Wildlife Action Plan in 2015.

To assist municipalities and local conservationists implement the Wildlife Action Plan, Rhode Island has a Wildlife Action Plan Community Liaison and this position is a collaborative project of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The Community Liaison is an employee of RINHS providing services to and not acting for or as an agent of RIDEM. Contact Amanda Freitas, Wildlife Action Plan Community Liaison, using her first and last name separated by a period, followed by

The wildlife action plan has its own webpage on the Rhode Island DEM website so if you’re looking for the original documents or information on the project development, you should look at the official RIDEM WAP page.

Because the WAP is complicated and interacts with the Natural History Survey’s work on the Natural Heritage Program, we have developed a few products to help you use the Wildlife Action Plan and they are available on RINHS’s Wildlife Action Plan page.