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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

National park research fellowships increase capacity and creativity in responding to climate change

  • Author(s): Schmitt, Catherine
  • Brigham, Christy
  • Fisichelli, Nicholas
  • Miller-Rushing, Abraham J.
  • Nydick, Koren
  • Watkins, Tim
  • Wood, Melanie A.
  • et al.
Abstract

The challenges posed by climate change in national parks and other protected areas demand creative approaches, new ideas, and experiments that are beyond the capacity of any single park or agency staff. Research fellowships provide a critical way that the National Park Service (NPS) and its partners can address the agency’s needs to address climate change adaptation challenges. At least 30 such programs support stewardship-relevant science in national parks. Some national programs and initiatives at Acadia National Park in Maine, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California serve as examples of how researchers in these programs are informing restoration, relocation, vegetation and fire management, and resource protection activities; documenting change that has already occurred; providing baseline data on biodiversity; and conducting novel experiments. Successful fellowship programs have strong engagement of resource managers, emphasize communication with management and public audiences, and incorporate ongoing support and evaluation. As a result

of these successes, NPS and partners are working to expand and strengthen the sustainability and effectiveness of research grants and fellowships.

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