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Plant Communities

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Use of Structured Decision Making to Optimize Salt Marsh Management Decisions at Northeastern National Wildlife Refuges

US Fish and Wildlife Service completed a regional assessment of salt marsh integrity (SMI) on 15 National Wildlife Refuges/Refuge Complexes in the northeastern US. Developed within a structured decision making (SDM) framework, the SMI assessment provides essential baseline data on salt marsh condition relative to regional management objectives. These data now provide the basis for applying the SDM...
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Use of Structured Decision Making to Optimize Salt Marsh Management Decisions at Northeastern National Wildlife Refuges

US Fish and Wildlife Service completed a regional assessment of salt marsh integrity (SMI) on 15 National Wildlife Refuges/Refuge Complexes in the northeastern US. Developed within a structured decision making (SDM) framework, the SMI assessment provides essential baseline data on salt marsh condition relative to regional management objectives. These data now provide the basis for applying the SDM...
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Monitoring Birds in National Parks of the Gulf Coast Network

The Challenge: Avian monitoring within the Gulf Coast Network of the National Park Service is challenged to provide valid quantitative data on bird populations within park boundaries with limited financial input. Thus, citizen science (volunteer) bird monitoring has been proposed to achieve reliable estimates of bird populations and to assess the effects of habitat change and temporal dynamics of...
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Monitoring Birds in National Parks of the Gulf Coast Network

The Challenge: Avian monitoring within the Gulf Coast Network of the National Park Service is challenged to provide valid quantitative data on bird populations within park boundaries with limited financial input. Thus, citizen science (volunteer) bird monitoring has been proposed to achieve reliable estimates of bird populations and to assess the effects of habitat change and temporal dynamics of...
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Seagrass Vulnerability to Environmental Conditions Under Changing Temperature Regimes

Seagrasses are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Water quality degradation and direct human disturbance have caused loss of nearly a third of the seagrass habitat worldwide. These threats are exacerbated by stresses associated with a changing global climate. Predicting how seagrass distribution, abundance, and species composition will change in response to increased temperature...
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Seagrass Vulnerability to Environmental Conditions Under Changing Temperature Regimes

Seagrasses are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Water quality degradation and direct human disturbance have caused loss of nearly a third of the seagrass habitat worldwide. These threats are exacerbated by stresses associated with a changing global climate. Predicting how seagrass distribution, abundance, and species composition will change in response to increased temperature...
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Sustainable Management of Campsites: Research on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails

Current and increasing visitation to protected natural areas has the potential to negatively impact natural resources and threaten the quality of visitors’ experiences. In backcountry and wilderness settings land managers have often allowed visitors to select and create their own campsites, which surveys reveal are often close to water, formal trails, and other campsites. This research is focused...
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Sustainable Management of Campsites: Research on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trails

Current and increasing visitation to protected natural areas has the potential to negatively impact natural resources and threaten the quality of visitors’ experiences. In backcountry and wilderness settings land managers have often allowed visitors to select and create their own campsites, which surveys reveal are often close to water, formal trails, and other campsites. This research is focused...
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Conservation of Rare Vegetation Communities of the Atlantic Coastal Barrier Islands

The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential type...
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Conservation of Rare Vegetation Communities of the Atlantic Coastal Barrier Islands

The Challenge: A synthesis of the role of disturbance, in all of its manifestations, on the establishment and development of the American Holly forest is required to guide future conservation measures. Because many forest fragments have already endured >30 years of chronic deer herbivory, a legitimate question of how much more impact by deer can be tolerated and still conserve the essential type...
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Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Condition in the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network

Salt marsh ecosystems along all US coastlines have been altered, degraded, and destroyed by human activities, including ditching and drainage of the marsh platform, tidal restrictions, discharge of pollutants, and introduction of invasive species. The National Park Service conducts long-term monitoring of salt marsh vegetation and nekton (fish and free-swimming crustaceans) to provide information...
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Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Condition in the Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network

Salt marsh ecosystems along all US coastlines have been altered, degraded, and destroyed by human activities, including ditching and drainage of the marsh platform, tidal restrictions, discharge of pollutants, and introduction of invasive species. The National Park Service conducts long-term monitoring of salt marsh vegetation and nekton (fish and free-swimming crustaceans) to provide information...
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Sustainably Designed Trails: Recent Recreation Ecology Findings on Design Factors Affecting Soil Loss

An estimated 146 million Americans participated in more than 10.9 billion outdoor recreation activities in 2017. Virtually all protected natural areas have recreational trails as an essential infrastructure component to accommodate these outdoor recreation activities and visitor access, supporting a diverse array of opportunities and experiences that include nature study, hiking, camping, mountain...
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Sustainably Designed Trails: Recent Recreation Ecology Findings on Design Factors Affecting Soil Loss

An estimated 146 million Americans participated in more than 10.9 billion outdoor recreation activities in 2017. Virtually all protected natural areas have recreational trails as an essential infrastructure component to accommodate these outdoor recreation activities and visitor access, supporting a diverse array of opportunities and experiences that include nature study, hiking, camping, mountain...
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Research and Management of Informal (Visitor-Created) Trails in Protected Areas

Protected area managers provide formal trail systems to accommodate recreational visitation on resistant “hardened” treads, while protecting off-trail vegetation, soils, and wildlife. When formal trail networks fail to provide visitors the access and experiences they require, visitors frequently venture “off-trail” to fish, hunt, explore, climb, or engage in other off-trail activities. Even...
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Research and Management of Informal (Visitor-Created) Trails in Protected Areas

Protected area managers provide formal trail systems to accommodate recreational visitation on resistant “hardened” treads, while protecting off-trail vegetation, soils, and wildlife. When formal trail networks fail to provide visitors the access and experiences they require, visitors frequently venture “off-trail” to fish, hunt, explore, climb, or engage in other off-trail activities. Even...
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Post-Hurricane Sandy Vegetation Recovery in the Presence of a Hyper-abundant Deer Population

The Challenge: The primary dune along barrier island beaches protects leeward vegetation from tidal fluctuation, salt spray and storm surge. However, storm surges like those experienced during Hurricane Sandy can obliterate the primary dune, transporting sand inland and burying existing vegetation. The dune rebuilds naturally as recovering vegetation traps wind-blown and waterborne sand. The rate...
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Post-Hurricane Sandy Vegetation Recovery in the Presence of a Hyper-abundant Deer Population

The Challenge: The primary dune along barrier island beaches protects leeward vegetation from tidal fluctuation, salt spray and storm surge. However, storm surges like those experienced during Hurricane Sandy can obliterate the primary dune, transporting sand inland and burying existing vegetation. The dune rebuilds naturally as recovering vegetation traps wind-blown and waterborne sand. The rate...
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Estimation of Density and Abundance of Biological Populations on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges Through Distance Sampling

The Challenge: Assessing the status and trends of populations of biological organisms is an important management goal and a recurrent theme in USGS research. Often, the most basic question of “how many are there?” remains elusive, thus making management decisions more difficult. This study continues a long-term commitment of technical support for the use of distance sampling for wildlife...
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Estimation of Density and Abundance of Biological Populations on National Parks and Wildlife Refuges Through Distance Sampling

The Challenge: Assessing the status and trends of populations of biological organisms is an important management goal and a recurrent theme in USGS research. Often, the most basic question of “how many are there?” remains elusive, thus making management decisions more difficult. This study continues a long-term commitment of technical support for the use of distance sampling for wildlife...
Learn More