NatureServe Vista

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NatureServe Vista is a powerful, flexible, and free spatial decision-support system that helps users integrate data and expert knowledge on conservation with land use and resource planning of all types. Planners, resource managers, scientists, and conservationists can use NatureServe Vista to assess cumulative effects for any number of scenarios, including climate change, investigate site conflicts, and design on-site or off-site mitigation strategies or entire alternative future scenarios. The tool also supports ongoing adaptive management by integrating monitoring data and new knowledge or models to understand how well an area is meeting a set of conservation objectives.


  • Identifies conservation elements, including species, habitats, ecosystems, or land use activities
  • Creates value maps to depict concepts such as element diversity, ecological or habitat condition, or data confidence
  • Integrates maps and other information to show cumulative effects of what is happening on the ground and in the water
  • Generates ecological condition layers to help determine areas for conservation or appropriate uses
  • Explores sites within a project area and creates mitigation plans
  • Generates scenario solutions by interoperating with Marxan
  • Documents analyses and generates reports

Technical Specifications

  • Required Software
    ESRI ArcView 10.0 with Spatial Analyst
  • GIS level of expertise
    Intermediate GIS experience is needed to populate the database; nearly anyone can learn how to conduct analyses and create alternatives using the database.

Data Requirements

  • Spatial data representing elements the user wishes to conserve, represent, or restore
  • Data depicting land cover and possible land policy scenarios

Stories from the Field

Informing Conservation Efforts in Coastal Georgia
Coastal conservation groups used the NatureServe Vista decision-support system to create new maps that aid in preservation of Georgia’s coastal habitat.


Fact Sheet
Presents additional information about NatureServe Vista

Sample Data
Allows users to rapidly evaluate the functionality of Vista without having to build their own project from scratch

Frequently Asked Questions
Answers frequently asked questions about NatureServe Vista

Users Manual
Contains installation and tool-use instructions, tool theory, and instructions on how to get started with NatureServe Vista

Training and Technical Support
Provides new users with options for receiving training or technical support from NatureServe, including workshops, consulting on ecological science and planning, and project development.