From the Editor: Economy, efficiency, applicability

This issue ... tells a collective story of diversity in science applications with ever-evolving techniques for improving stewardship. Jeff Selleck, editor

Economy, efficiency, applicability

Managers need research applications that lead to sustainable and efficient solutions to resource management challenges in parks. This issue features a number of articles that test and present techniques with potential for widespread use.

We start with a look at phenology, a basic yet important means of monitoring the timing of events in the lives of plants and animals. This tool aids in understanding seasonal and climatic cues in nature and the related effects on park visitors and management. Our cover article from Mount Rainier offers a valuable scientific comparison of different methods for gathering data of this type, with findings that apply to efficiency, accuracy, cost, and choice.

Other timely articles describe the development of strategic tools that are useful for improving and sustaining certain park operations. For example, researchers present test results of a relatively simple field process for managers’ use in assessing how well water bars and similar features divert runoff from trails. Also of note is STARFire, a scalable planning system that combines resource economics and fire science for the allocation of resources according to priority, risk, fuel treatment optimization, and overall program preparedness goals. Both tools could be employed potentially at hundreds of parks.

Reports of the further spread of white-nose syndrome in bats first to Washington State, then to Minnesota and Texas, were a disconcerting development during the preparation of this issue. This news emphasizes the importance of proper clothing and equipment disinfection for underground research and management activities. The article and procedural checklists presented in these pages describe techniques that will help prevent transmission of the nonnative fungus that causes this deadly disease in bats.

Timing is often a key element in securing employment, but it is not the only one. In a research report, social scientists share students’ perspectives on their prospects for working in park and protected area fields and those of professionals striving to advance their conservation-related careers. This article presents a few strategies that may be helpful to job seekers and hiring officials alike.

Finally, we feature a four-article section on the management of day use of the busy Grand Canyon corridor trails. The social sciences, including history, provide some of the tools necessary for understanding use types and levels, and possible solutions. Additionally, weather monitoring, strategic communications, and effective program design improve safety for visitors and park staff. These integrated programs provide critical information to managers considering their options for backcountry management plan revisions.

As always, this issue reflects the work of a huge family of researchers, resource managers, technicians, sponsors, partners, communicators, and other support staff. It tells a collective story of diversity in science applications with ever-evolving techniques for improving stewardship.

Jeff Selleck, Editor

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    Last updated: July 27, 2017