Natural Resource Inventories

β€œIn order to care, you need to know what's there.” –Sonoran Desert Network

Part of the National Park Service's mission is to preserve our parks' natural heritage unimpaired for future generations. But to do so, park managers need a lot of information. First and foremost, they need to know what natural resources, e.g., plants, animals, rock formations, or water bodies, exist in their parks. Next, they need to know where those resources are and how they are doing. Inventories help us answer such fundamental questions about the presence, distribution, and condition of natural resources.

Inventory studies involve collecting data in a given area over a set period of time. While they can help us understand how a park resource is faring, they're not designed to detect change over time. That is where monitoring comes in.

Examining a soil sample

Twelve Basic Inventories

When our program started, we identified 12 basic inventories to help us understand what resources existed in our parks.

Row of purple mushrooms growing out of a fallen log.

Inventories 2.0

This second round of inventories aims to provide parks with the data they need to make science-based management decisions.

Grand Canyon map, with a rainbow of colors representing vegetation types.

Vegetation Mapping Inventory

Classifying, describing, and mapping vegetation communities in more than 270 national parks.

Impervious surfaces map of the area around Gateway National Recreation Area.

Landscape Dynamics

Landscape Dynamics measure the environments in and around our National Parks; for example, population, roads, land cover, and land use.

Inventory Highlights

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    Last updated: March 14, 2022