Northeast Regional Floristic Quality Assessment

A Regional Floristic Quality Database is currently under development. Please check back for updates.

Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA)

FQA is used for ecological condition assessments, and estimates a species’ ecological sensitivity or propensity to occur in areas least-altered by humans. Plant species are assigned coefficients of conservatism (CoC) scores:

  • Ruderal and exotic species receive the lowest scores
  • Competitors and matrix species receive intermediate scores
  • Remnant-dependent species receive the highest scores

NEIWPCC currently is undertaking a Regional Floristic Quality Assessment Database project, with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, to build upon our previous FQA project. The original project was also funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and using some of the region’s most experienced botanists, NEIWPCC managed a project to assign CoC scores for the complete vascular flora of each New England state and New York State.

Botanists were asked to assign CoC according to this basic set of criteria:

CoC Criteria
0 Non-native with a wide range of ecological tolerances. Often these are opportunistic invaders of intact undisturbed habitats.
1 to 2 Native invasive or widespread native that is not typical of (or only marginally typical of) a particular plant community; tolerant of anthropogenic disturbance.
3 to 5 Native with an intermediate range of ecological tolerances and may typify a stable native community, but may also persist under some anthropogenic disturbance.
6 to 8 Native with a narrow range of ecological tolerances and typically associated with a stable community.
9 to 10 Native with a narrow range of ecological tolerances, high fidelity to particular habitat conditions, and sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance.

In addition, botanists were instructed to think about the statewide ecological tolerance against disturbances and stressors occurring outside of the environmental variation to which the species is evolutionarily adapted. A species that needs periodic or annual disturbance (e.g., fire) may still be highly conservative.

Marsh monitoring

Botanists were asked to select CoC using primarily their field experience and literature knowledge and without consulting other botanists. For each CoC, they assigned a personal confidence rating from 1 (low) to 5 (high).

Resources and Links

Individual State CoC Lists (Updated 11/08/2013)

Note: Revisions and updates to the lists are often ongoing in many states. Please contact Kimberly Roth for additional information on how to get an updated list for your state.

FQA Tools


New England Biological Assessment of Wetlands Workgroup