The CDPNQ's mission consists of gathering, storing, analyzing and distributing data on elements of biodiversity, especially those elements and element occurrences with the greatest conservation value. Currently, the data management system contains more than 10 500 occurrences of various elements related mainly to threatened or vulnerable species, namely 375 vascular plants and 79 vertebrate animals. In addition to these elements of biodiversity being tracked, certain groups of invertebrates (molluscs and insects) and natural communities have been added. Animal assemblages will be added in the near future.
CDPNQ data is used to define conservation priorities. It is also useful for work involving recovery plan drafting, environmental impact studies, application of protective measures, research projects, zoning project analyses, regulatory review and even forestry planning.
In the context of the new wildlife and plant life protection responsibilities devolving on the Gouvernement du Québec with the passing of the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species, in 1988, the Ministère de l'Environnement set up the CDPNQ in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the private US conservation agency The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Since 1991, the CDPNQ is managed jointly by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs, which is responsible for plant species and natural communities, and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, which is responsible for animal species.