The U.S. National Park Service needs much better scientific information to protect the nation's parks for future generations, and research must be an essential element in its mandate. Science and the National Parks examines the reasons why science is important to the national parks, reviews previous evaluations of research in the parks, and recommends ways to improve the current science program.
The book stresses the need for two distinct but related approaches to research, called "science for the parks" and "parks for science." Science for the parks includes research to gain understanding of park resources and develop effective management strategies. The parks for science concept recognizes that the national parks are potentially very important to scientific investigations of broad national and global environmental problems and invaluable for understanding the ecological response to anthropogenic change.
Science and the National Parks is a critical assessment of the problems hampering the current Park Service science program, providing strong recommendations to help the agency establish a true mandate for science, create separate funding and autonomy for the program, and enhance its credibility and quality.