The Diversity of Life Within ParksA fundamental responsibility of the National Park Service is to understand and protect the variety of life the parks support. Park managers and scientists need basic information on species occurring in parks. Park visitors, too, want to know about the plants and animals they may see.
Information on species occurrence and distribution was one of the basic inventories completed by Inventory & Monitoring staff. Between 2000 and 2010, scientists conducted surveys for vertebrates and vascular plants in over 280 parks, focusing on the highest-priority species.
Products resulting from these inventories included reports and associated data sets. Survey methods, species locations, habitat, and observation details were carefully documented.
In addition to these products, species occurrence information was entered into NPSpecies, an application for managing species lists and associated details.
NPSpeciesNPSpecies contains information on species that occur in a national park. It allows users to download a park species list, print a species checklist, or see in which parks a species is found. NPSpecies also contains details on species status; for example, whether it's threatened or endangered or invasive. Species information is substantiated through associated evidence, which includes observation records, documents, or museum specimens.
NPSpecies is a work in progress, and our knowledge of park biodiversity continues to grow and change. Since the inventories were completed, new parks have been added to the National Park System, and updates are needed in many areas. Also, the interest and need to know more about invertebrates, fungi, non-vascular plants, and other species groups is growing.
Planning underway in 2018 and 2019 will help us learn where and how we can best direct our work.
Below, you can see NPSpecies information for Arches National Park in Utah. To find information on species in other parks, visit the NPSpecies website.