What We Monitor

The Arctic is changing faster than anywhere else on the planet. Vegetation is changing through longer and warmer growing seasons and in response to the extent and severity of fires. Hydrology is changing because of thawing permafrost, snowpack persistence, and the freezing and thawing of lakes and streams. The brackish and freshwater aquatic systems (lagoons, lakes, and streams) are sensitive indicators of climate change and are important to wildlife, subsistence users, and the scenic quality of park. Unique northern and arctic-adapted species of plants and animals inhabit these parks; the future of many are uncertain under a changing climate.

Knowing what resources are found in Arctic parks and whether they are stable or changing can help park managers to make sound decisions about the future. By inventorying and monitoring resources, we develop a stronger scientific basis for stewardship and management of natural resources. It also ensures that our nation’s natural treasures are protected for future generations. We refer to these resources and process as vital signs since they are indicators of ecosystem integrity and health.

Last updated: May 6, 2018