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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Return to Division of Science and Research

Thomas F. Breden, M.S.*
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Natural and Historic Resources Group
Parks and Forestry Office of Natural Lands Management Natural Heritage Program

Jean Marie Hartman, Ph.D., Marielle Anzelone, M.S., and Jay F. Kelly
Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey
Department of Landscape Architecture
Prepared for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Policy, Planning and Science
Division of Science, Research and Technology

New Jersey’s Plant Diversity

New Jersey has a surprisingly high concentration of native plant and animal species relative to other states. Its native flora, comprised of more than 2,100 species, has representatives of more than 50% of the plant species found in the northeast from Pennsylvania to Maine (Fernald 1950 cf. Countryman 1977), despite the fact that it contains a mere 5% of the total land area of the region. Similarly, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, although it amounts to less than 0.26% of the total land area in the United States, and is the fourth smallest state in the nation, approximately 13% of the plant species in the U.S. can be found in New Jersey (Master et al. 2000).

In large part, this high diversity is due to the variety of habitats and landscapes that exist in New Jersey, from the mountainous Ridge and Valley in the north, to the Outer Coastal Plain in the south. Five such physiographic provinces can be found within the state, all within an hour’s drive of each other, and the unique combination of geological, topographical, and hydrological features that each of these represents has given rise to a wide range of environmental conditions within them, and a tremendous diversity in the state overall (Collins and Anderson 1994).

These unique habitats, in turn, have provided the necessary conditions for a remarkable array of native species, communities and ecosystems.


To learn more about the Endangered Plant Species Populations in New Jersey; Health and Threats, please select the links below for the report in it's entirety.

Full Report - PDF format (49 pages - 2.65mb)
Appendix A - PDF format (30 pages - 84kb)
Appendix B- PDF format (117 pages - 17.5mb)
Appendix C - PDF format (1 page)

For more information regarding this report, please contact Bob Cartica.

Division of Science and Research
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Director

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340