September 14, 2012

New Conditions, New Needs

by Dr. Gary Machlis from NPS Science Advisor to the Director

The Science Committee of the National Park Service Advisory Board recent released Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks, a contemporary effort to revisit the 1960s “Leopold Report” which served for decades as a guiding document for natural resource stewardship.  The new report examines both natural and cultural resource management within the NPS.  In a significant change from the original report, the committee recommends managing for change rather than for static “vignette of primitive America.”  Environmental, cultural and socioeconomic changes are far more complex and diverse.  As the report notes, “It is an essential finding of this committee that given the dynamic and complex nature of this change, the manager and decision maker must rely on science for guidance in understanding novel conditions, threats, and risks to parks now and in the future.”

Here is one of many questions: How do we expand the role of partners, academic institutions and other public agencies in developing place-based scientific expertise and expanding collaboration across park or programmatic boundaries?  What, if any, are the barriers that must be overcome?

1 Comment

  1. Just as the initial Leopold Report of 1963 revolutionized Park Service wildlife management, its new iteration, Revisiting Leopold, can ensure that America’s national parks thrive during their second century of existence, continuing to serve as lifeboats for our nation’s biological inheritance and as the cultural landscapes of our nation’s history. The authors of Revisiting Leopold should be lauded for providing a brilliant vision for protecting our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. Assuming these recommendations officially guide scientific policy moving forward, the men and women of the National Park Service should be commended for taking the front line in helping us turn that vision into reality. Read more of NPCA’s analysis on our Park Advocate blog: http://bit.ly/ObX7nr.

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