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Global Climate Change and National Park Service Management

by Moss, Kevin Nicholas

Abstract

The National Park Service (NPS) manages over 84 million acres of public lands in the United States. Its landscapes include some of the most visually stunning and ecologically pristine areas of the country. The parks, monuments, wildernesses, and protected areas that encompass the NPS are largely protected from human development, but that does not mean they are immune from disturbance or damage. In the past, impacts to these landscapes were largely due to poor land use decisions, such as overgrazing by cattle and fire suppression. However, a new threat – global climate change – threatens to significantly disturb these pristine areas. The NPS faces a substantial challenge in formulating effective management strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This thesis investigates the system-wide response by the NPS to climate change in two ways. First, a comprehensive review of environmental management strategies was explored, with a focus on responses that could be particularly effective in a directionally changing climate. Second, a series of interviews with NPS managers and scientific researchers was conducted in order to contextualize the unique challenges that individual parks face regarding climate change. Interview responses were then discussed alongside the literature findings in order to explore the NPS’ response to climate change. The thesis concludes with specific recommendations for how the NPS can improve its strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on its landscapes.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:11189
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
74 pages
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Snyder, Marc Marion Hourdequin
Department/Program
Environmental Program
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2015-05