Meet the Managers: Inventory & Monitoring
NPS photo by Laura Carnal.
This month, meet the people and projects in Inventory & Monitoring.
What is Inventory & Monitoring (I & M)? Scientists in the park’s Inventory & Monitoring program have two important roles:
The Smokies covers over 500,000 acres, so scientists choose small areas called plots that represent the huge range of habitats and elevations in the park. Plots are in forests, grasslands, wetlands, and even sections of streams and cliff faces. Park geographers, biologists, botanists, foresters, and entomologists all take part in this work. Depending on what they’re studying, park staff may record
This information serves as a quantitative baseline. Over time, scientists return to the carefully mapped plots to watch for changes from this known baseline, which might be the first sign of a problem in the park ecosystem as a whole. Why inventory and monitor park life? Go to page 2 to find out.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...