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The National Park Service's Natural Resource Challenge is a major endeavor to revitalize and expand the natural resource program within the National Park System and to improve park management through greater reliance on scientific knowledge. A significant component of the Challenge is the Inventory and Monitoring Program (I&M), which has divided the country's National Park units with natural resources into 32 networks, based on common biologic criteria. The South Florida / Caribbean Network includes Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, Buck Island Reef National Monument, Dry Tortugas National Park, Everglades National Park, and Virgin Islands National Park. The primary goal of the inventory phase of the I&M program is to gain species knowledge in all 32 networks for at least 90% of all vertebrate and vascular plant species in all identified park units. The network has performed a literature search, compiled a species list using the NPSpecies database, and conducted a scoping meeting to review the species list by Park service resource managers and other experts within each taxonomic group. This review identified knowledge gaps and prioritized inventories by park. During FY01, a network study plan was written and approved, and inventory work began in four park units with projects valued at nearly 200,000. These vertebrate and vascular plant inventories are planned to run through FY04 and cover vascular plants at three parks, fish at all six parks, reptiles and amphibians at three parks, and mammals at all six parks. These inventories will produce Geographic Information System (GIS) layers for each study with species identified at each sampling site. This information will be used to help develop a long-term monitoring program for the South Florida / Caribbean Network which is planned to start in FY04. These inventories will be accessible through park service web-enabled databases, so particular species information can be queried for a park unit, a network, a region, or the entire country. The South Florida / Caribbean Network inventory data will provide a valuable snapshot of what existed prior to when the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan begins, and the monitoring will examine how the biologic system changes during this process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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