Skip to main content

Science, Conservation, and National Parks

As the US National Park Service marks its centennial in 2016, parks and protected areas worldwide are under increasing threat from a variety of factors, including storms and fires of greater severity, plant and animal extinctions, the changing attitudes of a public that has become more urbanized, and the political pressures of narrow special interest groups. In the face of such rapid environmental and cultural changes, Science, Conservation, and National Parks gathers a group of renowned scholars—including Edward O. Wilson, Jane Lubchenco, Thomas Dietz, and Monica Turner, among many otherswho seek to address these problems and, in so doing, to secure a future for protected areas that will push forward the frontiers of biological, physical, and social science in and for parks.

Examining the major challenges of parks and protected areas throughout the world, contributors provide answers to a number of key conservation questions, such as: How should stewardship address climate change, urban encroachment and pollution, and invasive species? How can society, especially youth, become more engaged with nature and parks, and are there models to guide interactions between parks and their neighbors? What are appropriate conservation objectives for parks in the Anthropocene? Charting a course for the parks of the next century, Science, Conservation, and National Parks is certain not only to catalyze the continued evolution of US park conservation policy, but also to be an inspiration for parks, conservation, and management worldwide.

416 pages | 51 halftones, 13 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Biological Sciences: Conservation, Ecology, Natural History

Earth Sciences: General Earth Sciences


Science, Conservation, and National Parks is an exciting contribution that will be of interest to park managers around the world. Addressing important themes like the potential transition from an extensive to an intensive economy and what that means for parks and biodiversity, authors do a nice job exploring the different strategies for setting goals and managing national parks, including retrospective restoration foci, managing processes, and hypermanagement for particular ideal future states. Clearly these are not mutually exclusive management strategies, but it is useful to have them articulated in discrete categories from different viewpoints. This is an eclectic, enjoyable mix of literature reviews, personal experience and case studies, and practical advice from authors who are indubitably leaders in their subdisciplines.”

Eleanor J. Sterling, Chief Conservation Scientist, Center for Biodiversity & Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

“A monumental capstone to the US National Park Service centennial with a very timely and unique historical perspective. Written by an outstanding lineup of authors who are leaders in their fields, Science, Conservation, and National Parks offers a refreshing holistic treatment of the linkages and mutual dependencies between parks and science. This book will be a valuable contribution to the field of protected area conservation, one that positions the National Park Service and other agencies and institutions managing protected areas to become more proficient at using science in decision making. At the same time, it offers greater insights into the important role parks play in science. Conservation scholars, conservation practitioners, and land managers all over the world will be interested in its content and lessons. Compelling.”

William B. Monahan, USDA Forest Service and formerly of the US National Park Service

"This is a testament to what can be achieved by determined conservationists, compiled to mark the centenary of the founding of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) in 1916, but looking forward as well as reflecting on the past."

Biodiversity and Conservation

Table of Contents


Section I : Mission and Relevance of National Parks
Edward O. Wilson
One / Parks, Biodiversity, and Education: An Essay and Discussion
Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Jane Lubchenco, and Allison K. Barner
Two / Seas the Day: A Bluer, Saltier Second Century for American Parks
Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich and Steven R. Beissinger
Three / A Global Perspective on Parks and Protected Areas
Holly Doremus (moderator), Denis P. Galvin, George Miller, and Frances B. Roberts-Gregory
Edited by Kelly A. Kulhanek, Lauren C. Ponisio, Adam C. Schneider, and Rachel E. Walsh
Four / Strategic Conversation: Mission and Relevance of National Parks

Section II : Stewardship of Parks in a Changing World
Monica G. Turner, Daniel C. Donato, Winslow D. Hansen, Brian J. Harvey, William H. Romme, and A. LeRoy Westerling
Five / Climate Change and Novel Disturbance Regimes in National Park Landscapes
Patrick Gonzalez
Six / Climate Change Trends, Impacts, and Vulnerabilities in US National Parks
Jill S. Baron, Tamara Blett, William C. Malm, Ruth M. Alexander, and Holly Doremus
Seven / Protecting National Parks from Air Pollution Effects: Making Sausage from Science and Policy
Daniel Simberloff
Eight / Biological Invasions in the National Parks and in Park Science
Joel Berger
Nine / The Science and Challenges of Conserving Large Wild Mammals in 21st-Century American Protected Areas
David D. Ackerly (moderator), Stephanie M. Carlson, C. Josh Donlan, Laurel G. Larsen, and Raymond M. Sauvajot
Edited by Meagan F. Oldfather, Kelly J. Easterday, Maggie J. Raboin, and Kelsey J. Scheckel
Ten / Strategic Conversation: Stewardship of Parks in a Changing World

Section III : Engaging People in Parks
Ruth DeFries
Eleven / The Tangled Web of People, Landscapes, and Protected Areas
Thomas Dietz
Twelve / Science, Values, and Conflict in the National Parks
John Francis, Kelly J. Easterday, Kelsey J. Scheckel, and Steven R. Beissinger
Thirteen / The World Is a Park: Using Citizen Science to Engage People in Parks and Build the Next Century of Global Stewards
Edwin Bernbaum
Fourteen / The Spiritual and Cultural Significance of Nature: Inspiring Connections between People and Parks
Jennifer Wolch (moderator), Justin S. Brashares, Cyril F. Kormos, Christine S. Lehnertz, and Nina S. Roberts
Edited by Emily E. Kearny, Audrey F. Haynes, and Carrie R. Levine
Fifteen / Strategic Conversation: Engaging and Disengaging People in Parks

Section IV : Future of Science, Conservation, and Parks
Jamais A. Cascio
Sixteen / A New Kind of Eden
Gary E. Machlis
Seventeen / The Near-Horizon Future of Science and the National Parks
Steven R. Beissinger and David D. Ackerly
Eighteen / Science, Parks, and Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World
Steven R. Beissinger and Tierne M. Nickel
Appendix / Historical Connections between UC Berkeley, the Birth of the US National Park Service, and the Growth of Science in Parks

About the Contributors

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press