Ecological Integrity Assessment and Ecosystem Management in National Park
Dr. Guangyu Wang
Nuo Xu, PhD Student
1. Monitoring and Assessing Ecological Integrity in National Park
Maintaining and restoring ecological integrity is the top priority in national park management, as intact ecosystems are not only crucial for conserving native species and landscapes, but also the basis of the better visitor experience and educational purpose. The sound understand of ecosystem status, monitoring objectives and effectiveness of management are of great importance for helping park managers to develop efficient plans and reasonable policies for better ecosystem management at different temporal and spatial scale.
Both anthropogenic and natural factors can threaten the ecological integrity of national parks, such as recreation, land-use change, pollution and climate change. Researches indicate that land-use change within and around national parks is the main treat of ecosystems as it causes habitat loss and degradation, landscape fragmentation and human-wildlife conflicts, and it is a big challenge about how to mitigate the negative impacts. Another undergoing threat is climate change, and many park agencies recognize it as the greatest threat in the future, or even from now. Since the climate is closely related to both biotic and abiotic environments that species depend on, the constantly changing climate has already influenced the environment at different scale and finally impair ecosystems. As such, it is vital to monitor, assess and manage ecological integrity in the context of climate change.
There are five principal research objectives including:
- Overall evaluate pros and cons of existing ecological integrity assessment methods;
- Analyze the impacts of human activities and climate change to national parks’ ecosystems and select relevant indicators for monitoring ecological integrity at spatial and temporal scale;
- Develop a new ecological integrity assessment system in the context of climate change (CC-EAIS);
- Examine the effectiveness of CC-EAIS at different national parks.
- Provide recommendations on assessing ecological integrity, mitigating threats and developing monitoring programs for national park management.
Effectiveness monitoring is a useful approach to evaluate whether the management plan developed from the ecological integrity assessment system meets the objectives of park managers to maintain and restore ecosystem integrity. It is important for adjusting management strategies timely and propose a sound plan for the following monitoring plans. Thus, the approaches used in ecosystem management determine the condition of ecological integrity. The primary objective of this study is to develop a systematic approach to manage the ecosystem and achieve ecological integrity according to different ecosystem situations in the national parks.
Xv, N., Wu, W.L., Wang, G.Y*. (2020). National Park and ecosystem integrity. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Life on Land. Springer.
Xu, N. Wu, W. & Wang, G. (2020). Climate change and ecological integrity of national park. (in preparation)
Xu, N. Wu, W., Innes, J. & Wang, G. (2020). Understanding ecological integrity in protected area management. (in preparation)