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.

Longear sunfish held in the palm of a hand


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

Field technician in Glacier National Park noting data from a transect set up on the ground


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

Last updated: February 21, 2020