• Visitors bask in a golden sunset at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center in Shenandoah National Park

    Shenandoah

    National Park Virginia

Natural Resource Inventories

Animals

Meteorology

Plants

Natural History Collection

Geology

Maps

Soils

Natural Resource Bibliography

Base Cartographic Information

 
Park staff using GIS to help the mapping of resources.

Park staff using GIS to help the mapping of resources.

NPS Photo

Overview

Natural resource inventorying is the process of acquiring information on park resources, including the presence, distribution, and condition of plants, animals, soils, water, air, geological features, biotic communities, natural processes, and human-induced changes in those resources. Inventories are designed to contribute to a statement of the condition of park resources, which is best described in relation to a standard condition such as natural or unimpaired. Inventories involve both the compilation of existing information and the acquisition of new information.

Park inventories include general and specific descriptive data and historical records. Information collected includes things like legal descriptions, climate information, land classifications, topographic maps, watershed delineations, surficial and bedrock geology maps, hydrologic information, water quality data, air quality data, species lists, vegetation maps, documentation of fires, insect, and disease infestations, etc.

In a world in which natural places have become few and precious, knowledge of the composition and function of relatively unaltered natural systems is invaluable. This program provides a fundamental knowledge of those systems and the technical basis for "ecosystem management".

Natural resource inventories have three primary uses:

  • Documentation of the occurrence, location, and condition of park resources
  • Identification of rare, threatened, or endangered species and ecosystems for purposes of directing management
  • Development of a foundation for implementation of status and trend or monitoring programs



Did You Know?

Two National Park Service biologists study vegetation in Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park is an outdoor laboratory that helps scientists study the effects of our activities on the environment. To learn more, click on Science and Nature. More...