• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

Inventory & Monitoring: Winter, 2009

Issue 6 > Resource Roundup > Inventory & Monitoring
 
Vegetation map of the park.

Plant data from the newly acquired lands will be used to make a vegetation map like the existing one pictured here.

NPS photo & map.

Mapping new lands
Inventory and monitoring staff finished mapping the vegetation in the newly acquired lands near the western side of the park. Data from this inventory is not only listed in a typical database, but also represented on maps so managers can visualize where species occur on the landscape.

Data!

Janet Rock, the park botanist, is busy updating the park’s plant list and preparing the rare plant species database. The park plant list contains all of the known species in the park, many of which are endemic—found only in this area—or rare. Even though people have explored the park for 75 years now, new plant species have been discovered through All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory efforts as well as exploration of the park’s newly acquired lands.

The park’s Geographic Information Systems specialist, Ben Zank, is working with the botanist to map known species as well as restoration sites for recovered plants that had been poached illegally.

Tom Remaley is entering data from a season of setting up 27 new long-term vegetation monitoring plots throughout the park. Tom and his crew carefully inventoried all of the plant species in each plot. They will return after a few years to monitor how the plant species changed—either the type of plants that grow there, their abundance, or their distribution.

Mapping rocks
That’s not just what people who like mapping say, it’s the project that a group of students from Louisiana State University will be doing as early as January. The project will involve hiking to the Bull Cave area to map rock outcrops and plant species that grow there.

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Did You Know?

Marbled salamanders are one of 30 salamander species native to the park.

There are at least 30 different species of salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This gives the Smokies the distinction of having the most diverse salamander population anywhere in the world and has earned the park the nickname “Salamander Capital of the World.” More...