The Unaddressed Threat of Invasive Animals in US National Parks
A detailed review about invasive animal species and their management finds that the global threat of invasive animals substantially undermines the National Park Service mission.
Invasive species, both plants and animals, are a long-standing threat to the National Parks of the United States. For nearly two decades the National Park Service has implemented a service-wide invasive plant management program without a commensurate program focusing on invasive animals. While individual park units are struggling to sufficiently address the threat of invasive terrestrial and aquatic animal species, a system-wide effort could bring the resources and capacity needed to address a challenge of this magnitude. We present our key findings from a detailed review about invasive animal species and their management by the National Park Service. We assert that the global threat of invasive animals substantially undermines the National Park Service mission. Coordinated action could improve the ability for the National Park Service to meet the challenge, and partnering with neighboring agencies and invasive species networks outside of the National Park Service is essential for success. Public engagement, cooperation and support is also critical and can be accomplished through strategic engagement efforts. Finally, the National Park Service would benefit from the development of an invasive animal program that includes structured decision support, adaptive management and monitoring, the organizational structure to meet the highest needs, and capitalizing on the significant opportunities that exist through the appropriate use of emerging technologies.
Disclaimer: The views and conclusions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the National Park Service. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use by the National Park Service.
Ashley A. Dayer
Kent H. Redford
Karl J. Campbell
Christopher R. Dickman
Rebecca Epanchin-Niell is a senior fellow at RFF whose research focuses on ecosystem management, in particular examining how human behavior affects ecological resources as well as identifying strategies to improve management.
Edwin D. Grosholz
David E. Hallac
Elaine F. Leslie
Leslie A. Richardson
Mark W. Schwartz
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