The National Park Service (NPS) Advisory Board released a report August 28th on the goals of resource management in the National Park System. “Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks” recommends that management of natural and historical resources embrace an ever-changing world, rather than trying to recreate a pre-contact ecosystem, as was the recommendation from a famous 1963 report led by A. Starker Leopold, son of Aldo Leopold.
The new report recommends that in order “to preserve [the]ecological integrity and cultural authenticity” of park system resources, management must accept and work within the context of a world changing in response to climate change, land-use change, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and many other complex and interrelated factors. The report reemphasizes and reaffirms the role of science in management, and the use of a precautionary approach.
The original Leopold Report guided NPS policy for fifty years, and in many ways still does, but park officials say it needed updating. It was extremely influential when it suggested that wildlife management be based on science, and that parks be managed for whole ecosystems rather than any particular, favored species of wildlife.
Sources: E&E Publishing (Greenwire August 28, 2012), NPS (August 24, 2012)