Focus Areas

Our efforts focus on areas where university-agency interactions and engagement can help address issues, solve problems, and inform decisions. Our strength is to provide coordination and synthesis on topics that are multi-agency and multi-disciplinary in nature. Some key areas where we work include:


Biodiversity and Conservation

INR, from its inception, has had legislative mandates to manage Oregon’s Natural Areas Program and Oregon’s Biodiversity Program, which is accomplished at INR’s Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC). ORBIC is part of a national biodiversity partnership with NatureServe and other state programs across North America. Projects include maintaining Oregon’s part of a national biodiversity information system (BIOTICs), Oregon’s Invasive Species information system (iMapInvasives) in partnership with the Oregon Invasive Species Council, and management of the managed area information system. INR also works with state and federal partners on wetlands conservation and mitigation; plant and wildlife conservation and restoration programs; and on many conservation efforts that require interagency partnerships, such as Oregon’s Sage Grouse and Snowy Plover conservation efforts. Read more...


Information Access and Science Synthesis

In Oregon, there are more than eight state and eleven federal agencies which collect natural resources information. Oregon also has 88 watershed councils, 45 soil and water conservation districts, 31 counties, 242 cities, 4 MPOs, and many universities that collect environmental data. None of these have a mandate to share this information.  INR was established to, among other things, help integrate this broad array of data, and to provide scientifically based information to the public in order to improve natural resources decision making. Through a suite of programs and tools, we provide access to integrated data, information, and university-based research. We also facilitate access to natural resources information and data though convening policy dialogues, and conducting science reviews and syntheses.  Read more...


Landscape Assessment and Mapping

All new land management plans and most natural resource decisions require managers and planners to understand where the important resources are, and how decisions are going to affect them – both in their area of interest and across the broad landscape. INR helps decision makers by capturing characteristics of the vegetation, fish, and wildlife; and by building models that reflect how these change over time and space, based on different plans. These models allow planners to visualize current and future conditions for species, vegetation, and aquatic resources, as well as important natural resources, such as timber availability, fire risk, rangeland productivity, and riparian conditions. Read more...



Oregon's economic vitality is directly tied to water. Water is “virtually” embedded in all Oregon products, from timber and salmon to solar panels and semiconductors. But water supply and demand in the state is changing. In the academic community there is growing recognition that the solutions to future water challenges lie not within a single discipline or subject but through the connection of concepts between multiple academic fields and through successful collaboration between academics and water managers. Read more...


Biodiversity and Conservation

INR supports biodiversity and conservation by collecting data and sharing information about plants and animals of Oregon. These data sets include the state's most comprehensive database on rare, threatened, and endagered plants, wildlife, fish, fungi, and vegetation found in Oregon. INR also coordinates projects on biodiversity monitoring and provides technical assistance for the Oregon Natural Areas Program. INR works with a variety of agency, non-profit, and private partners and is a member of the NatureServe network. Read more about INR's biodiversity activities via the links below.

Information Access

One of INR's goals is to facilitate access to natural resources information and data. We do this in a variety of ways, including facilitating policy dialogues, conducting science reviews and syntheses, and developing tools that make natural resources information accessible. One of our largest efforts in making information accessible is the Oregon Explorer – a natural resources digital library where users can interact with place-based, up-to-date scientific information through maps, charts, data, images, publications, and visualization tools. We also manage Oregon's iMapInvasives, which is part of an international online platform for collecting, managing, and sharing invasive species data. See below for links to several of our efforts.

Landscape Assessment and Mapping

INR develops landscape-level natural resource management tools such as predictive models of vegetation and wildlife distributions to assist decision making at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. These models allow planners to visualize current and future conditions for species, vegetation, and aquatic resources, as well as important natural resources, such as timber availability, fire risk, rangeland productivity, and riparian conditions. 

INR also maintains a geodatabase of all managed areas in Oregon, as well as a subset of Oregon's Natural Areas as part of the Natural Areas Program.

Learn more about our mapping and assessment projects and products through the menus below.


INR recently merged with the OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW), Oregon’s federally-designated water resources research institute. This merger combines IWW's strengths of facilitating water research and education, with INR's mission of synthesizing natural resources information for decision makers.  The links below highlight INR-IWW activites related to water.