The first of many - a new oak seedling sprouts inside a deer exclosure.

The first of many - a new oak seedling sprouts inside a deer exclosure.

What Are We Protecting?

New Jersey is nearly 5 million acres and 55% of that is natural land cover (about 30% is developed land and 15% is farmland). Nearly 25% of our state is protected as open space or preserved farmland, but there are still 2 million acres that are currently unprotected from additional development.

For a small state, New Jersey is filled with a wide variety of plants and animals. The scorecard includes 62 land mammals, 28 marine mammals, 322 birds, 44 reptiles, 35 amphibians, 85 freshwater fish, 336 marine fish, 180 dragonflies and damselflies, 151 butterflies and 2,100 native plant species.

  • New Jersey's flora includes nearly 50 species that are globally rare - this is defined as species with less than 100 populations remaining in the world. Several plants, including Hammond's yellow spring beauty, are found nowhere else in the world.
  • With a total of 55 species, New Jersey has more orchids than Hawaii!
  • There are nearly 1,000 non-native plant species in New Jersey and about 350 are considered invasive or potentially invasive species.
  • New Jersey has large populations of globally rare animals including bog turtles and Northern metalmark butterflies.
  • Sussex County has a larger number of dragonfly species (142) than any other county in the U.S.

Photo Gallery

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images with descriptions.