What We Inventory

Having a clear idea of what animals and plants use our parks, and how landscapes are affected by factors like weather and climate, is key to protecting our parks into the future. That’s where taking inventory comes in.

When the Inventory and Monitoring Program began in the late 1990s, the National Park Service identified twelve basic inventories that all parks should collect. For each inventory and monitoring network, like our Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network, conducting these inventories taught us about the ecologic, geologic, and atmospheric conditions of our parks. We took stock of the presence, distribution, and status of wildlife. We also recorded air and water quality, soil properties, landforms, and climate conditions.

Once the twelve inventories were completed in 2019, ten new inventories were added and initiated in 2020. Having these inventories doesn't just serve as a good-to-know. They set the foundation for what natural resources we should monitor more closely. Altogether, the Inventory and Monitoring Program guides our parks into the next decade of change and beyond.


Three park fellows smile, holding nets, wooden planks, and other equipment in a forest

Where We Inventory

Meet our eight national parks where inventory takes place.

Two park scientists sit on a contraption with long thin vertical poles in a salt marsh at dusk

What We Monitor

Monitoring is complementary to inventory. Learn more about what, why, and how we monitor.

Last updated: December 17, 2021