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A new decision support tool for collaborative adaptive vegetation management in northern Great Plains national parks

September 18, 2020

National Park Service (NPS) units in the northern Great Plains (NGP) were established to preserve and interpret the history of America, protect and showcase unusual geology and paleontology, and provide a home for vanishing large wildlife. A unifying feature among these national parks, monuments, and historic sites is mixed-grass prairie, which not only provides background scenery but is the very foundation of many park missions. As recognition of the prairie’s importance to park fundamental resources and values has grown, so too has the realization that invasive plants threaten these values by reducing native species diversity, altering food webs, and marring the visitor experience. Parks manage invasive species despite uncertainties in treatment effectiveness because management cannot wait for research to provide definitive answers. Under these circumstances, adaptive management (AM) is an appropriate approach. In the NGP, we formed a collaborative adaptive vegetation management team to apply AM towards reducing invasive species (with a focus on exotic annual grasses) and improving native vegetation conditions. In our AM framework, the team uses a Bayesian model built from NPS Inventory & Monitoring and Fire Effects monitoring data and experimental results to predict the effects of management actions on park management units, according to those units’ vegetation condition and management history. These predictions inform management decisions, which are then applied.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title A new decision support tool for collaborative adaptive vegetation management in northern Great Plains national parks
DOI 10.5070/P536349865
Authors Isabel W. Ashton, Amy Symstad, Heather Baldwin, Max Post van der Burg, Steven Bekedam, Erin Borgman, Milton Haar, Terri Hogan, Stephanie Rockwood, Daniel J Swanson, Carmen Thomson, Cody Wienk
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Parks Stewardship Forum
Series Number
Index ID 70213529
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center