New ‘Vital Signs’ Report Documenting Yellowstone’s Ecological Health
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
New 'Vital Signs' Report Documenting Yellowstone's Ecological Health
Yellowstone National Park's 2011 "Natural Resource Vital Signs" report is helping park managers and scientists more fully understand the status of important ecological "health indicators."
Park scientists and their cooperators are reporting on data from more than two dozen natural resource indicators to study the influences both inside and outside of the park that affect Yellowstone's overall ecological and environmental stability. These indicators include examining ecosystem processes such as wildland fire as well as environmental quality, native species and stressors such as wildlife disease and non-native species.
The report published by the Yellowstone Center for Resources (YCR) helps guide resource management decisions and supports ongoing and future research needs. The first study was conducted and published in 2008.
Among the health indicators studied, a number of significant new highlights have emerged:
• Earthquakes: More than 3,000 earthquakes were detected in the park in 2010, including a "swarm" of 2,400 quakes northwest of Old Faithful near the beginning of the year, the largest concentration since 1985.
Over the next year, the Yellowstone Center for Resources, along with its research partners, will re-examine these vital signs with a special emphasis on including cultural resource indicators.
The 2011 report can be found online at http://www.greateryellowstonescience.org/sites/default/files/Vital_signs_report_2011NOV.pdf
- www.nps.gov/yell -
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.