1963 (NRC, 1963). This structure gave the NPS a chief scientist in Washington with line authority to supervise all field scientists, whether they were assigned to parks, universities, or regions. The structure changed in 1971 when the current decentralized plan was instituted. The regional chief scientists now administer the regional programs in concert with the line managers (regional directors and superintendents). The regional chief scientists serve as the technical directors of their programs, and the line officers administer them.

Coordination and Planning

Park Service research activities must be well coordinated to ensure that research funds are spent wisely, accounted for properly, and that unnecessary duplication of effort is minimized. This is a major responsibility of the regional chief scientists and the chief scientist. Examples of servicewide coordinated research can be seen in the four divisions under associate director for natural resources. The divisions offer important avenues for research of national scope and have tightly defined missions that increase their effectiveness.

The Air Quality Division is responsible for air quality studies both through individual park projects and through servicewide activities; in 1991 it had a staff of 25 and funding of about $6.2 million. Through this division, the NPS monitors air quality in some 74 parks. Efforts also are under way to inventory and monitor air pollution effects on native vegetation. Research has focused on symptoms, location, and extent of ozone injury to native vegetation; on the origins and trajectories of air masses that impair visibility in parks; and on developing regional transport models for sulfates and ozone.

The Geographic Information Systems Division supports the use of geographic information data bases for resource inventories and monitoring in park management. Working with park or servicewide funding, the division acquires data, digitizes them, and does field work to verify them. Geographic information data bases can be used to determine trends in biological diversity; determine fidelity or deviation from desired resource conditions, assess the impacts of hu-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement