Science Supporting Parks

The National Park Service cares for our parks, and the diverse life they support, so that future generations can enjoy and learn from them just as we do. 

In 32 Inventory and Monitoring networks across the country, we gather and analyze information on specific park natural resources—the plants, animals, and ecosystems that can indicate the overall biological health of parks. 

Inventories help us understand the range of natural resources in and around parks.
Monitoring helps us understand how these resources are doing over the long term. 

Good decisions start with good information. The information we collect helps parks make sound, science-based management decisions that help us preserve America's special places.

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The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program conducts long-term ecological monitoring within National Park sites, collaborating with a variety of partners, and providing valuable data to park managers and the public.

One person holding up a clump of algae while another snaps a picture with a phone.

Inventories

A set of basic inventories, including vegetation, species, landforms, air, and water, gives us a common starting point for monitoring.

Scientist inserting a probe into a glacier in North Cascades National Park.

Monitoring

Through careful, consistent long-term monitoring, we can detect if park resources are stable or might be changing.

Two people smiling as they look up at a tall, flowering tropical plant.

Who We Are

Who is Inventory & Monitoring? We're over 300 National Park Service staff from across the country. Get to know us a little better!

Person sharing a small inflatable boat with a pile of water sampling equipment.

How We Work

What does our inventory and monitoring work entail? What tools and techniques do we use? Some of the answers might surprise you!

National Par Service scientist collecting data in a grassland habitat.

Making a Difference

Discover real-world examples of how Inventory & Monitoring helps support park management and decisionmaking.

Last updated: April 22, 2020