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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Nature Preserves > Heritage Data Center > About The 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, including climate, soils, glacial history, topography, exposed bedrock, presettlement vegetation, species composition, physiography, and flora and fauna distribution to identify a natural region. A Section is a subunit of a Natural Region where sufficient differences are evident such that recognition is warranted. 

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