National Park Service

Inventory & Monitoring (I&M)

Landscape-scale Monitoring Resources

Earth from space

NARSEC 2007 Meeting - March 6-8, 2007, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The 2007 NARSEC meeting was an international conference of 70 practitioners, researchers, and agency staff committed to advancing the science and practice of monitoring park landscape condition, especially with remotely sensed data. This meeting was co-sponsored by the US National Park Service (NPS), the Parks Canada Agency (PCA), US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS). Post-meeting activities include completing a comprehensive workshop report, producing a special journal issue, moving forward with continental land cover products, and further developing regional and international project to test and evaluate methods. All oral presenations and other materials are now posted on the NARSEC Proceedings page.

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NPS and I&M Projects and Protocols

(also see workshop section)

Landscape monitoring / RS Activity Table Spreadsheet of NPS landscape monitoring and related projects and activities, mostly based on remotely sensed data. Please send me updates and corrections!  Excel 32 KB. (revised 2 Feb 2006)
Evaluating MODIS NDVI/EVI in the Colorado Plateau. White and Hamar 2006. Final report: Interpreting Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) vegetation indices in the Colorado Plateau. 2006. Correlation of MODIS NDVI/EVI and on-the-ground measures, in areas with very low green fractional cover. Looks promising. Contact Steve Garman (NCPN) for more details. The report is being revised for submission and will likely be posted here at a later date.
PACN Landscape dynamics study plan. 2006. In review, and not quite ready for general distribution. But if you have a real need or interest, contact Page Else (PACN) or John Gross and we should be able to work something out.
NCRN landscape monitoring protocol. .Townsend et al. 2006. Near-final draft landscape monitoring protocol for NCRN. Excellent; some SOPs could serve as a remote sensing short course. Very good process for identifying and selecting imagery; used graph theory to evaluate connectivity. 3.4 MB zip file.
NCCN landscape monitoring protocol. Cohen and Kennedy 2006. Excellent landscape monitoring protocol for NCCN. This is version 1.0, current Oct 2006. The image files are too large to conveniently download from this site (50 MB). Email John Gross for images or other info.
NASA - NPS Monitoring project description. Hansen et al. 2005. Project description: Ecological condition of U.S. National Parks: Enhancing decision support through monitoring, analysis, and forecasting. This is a big, complex project that will help NPS better integrate RS data and ecological forecasting into routine decision support. Approved for funding April 2006 and should be spinning up in late 2006. 640 KB.
GRYN draft landscape monitoring protocol. Jones and Hansen. 2005. This protocol places much more emphasis on use of ancillary data (census, etc) than the NCCN or NCRN approaches. It follows from the HTLN report, which should also be consulted. 910 KB.
McKendry - Socio-economic atlas project. Excellent example of the use and presentation of existing, mostly county-level data on a broad range of variables. Ongoing project - reports available for about 15 park units. Contact or for more information.
HTLN landscape monitoring final report. Hansen and Gryskiewicz. 2003. Final report on land use change for HTLN. Very good conceptual framework for evaluating land use/cover change and impacts on preserve areas. Tables 1 & 3 are valuable for linking LULCC to ecological processes and for identifying uses and sources of RS and ancillary data. Zipped MS-Word, 830 KB.

NPS-I&M Meetings, Workshops, and Related

NARSEC 2007, March 6-8. Remote sensing of protected areas. NARSEC 2007 was the latest in a series of NPS-sponsored workshops to advance the use of remotely-sensed data for monitorig protected areas. Visit the meeting web pages to obtain pre and post meeting information, including meeting goals, agenda, presentations, a workshop report, and information on other followup activities.
National Phenology Network NPS continues to actively contributing to implementation of the NPN. Support is growing and implementation is now underway, with a formal launch scheduled for spring 2007. The national NPN office has been established in Tucson, and Mark Loesleben is now the Associate Director. A Director should be hired by the end of April, and an NPN web site is under construction. Other available resources include reports from the various implementation committees, and a list of suggested species for monitoring. Call or email John Gross for the current status. (updated 30 March 2007).
Parks Canada meeting - March 2006 proceedings. Our neighbors to the north (or east, for Alaskans) are doing really great work. Download the very impressive proceedings of their most recent meeting. This is great stuff. 168 KB pdf.
NARSEC 2005 - Multiagency RS meeting, St Petersburg, FL. The meeting site has good background information, and has links to selected references on key topics (fragmentation, roads, etc.). Held 1-3 March 2005 in collaboration with Parks Canada, Canadian Center for Remote Sensing, NASA, USGS, and NPS. See next item for products of the meeting.
NARSEC home Presentations, proceedings, progress reports, and other information on the Parks Canada project and related topics from the Florida meeting (see item above this one).
NPS Landscape Monitoring Workshop - Ft Collins 2004 Held 27-28 January 2004. Obtain meeting background information (handouts, etc.). The meeting sites has links to many useful papers and other information.
I&M Landscape Monitoring Workshop -Proceedings Like to site with proceedings from the first I&M landscape monitoring workshop. Download a summary of the workshop presentation, and/or the presentations from this site.
Woodward 2002. Workshop proceedings. Use of remote sensing for long-term ecological monitoring in the North Coast and Cascades Network: Summary of a Workshop. Pdf format, 576 KB.

NPS-I&M Updates

Lessons learned developing protocols for 3 western networks - Jan 2006 Update from R. Kennedy and collaborators summarizing lessons they learned from working with NCCN, SWAN, the Colorado Plateau networks. This group has really led the way in developing change detection procedures, and this nicely compliments what is reported in the following updates. PDF, 15 KB
Land cover and NETN parks - Jan 2006 Update from Y.Q. Wang. Results and lessons from three NETN projects on land cover change arount the Appalachian Trail, and vegetation changes. PDF, 18 KB
Using remote sensing data and ecosystem models - SIEN - Jan 2006 Very brief description and update from R. Nemani (NASA) on his team's work to implement ecosystem modeling in YOSE. PDF, 22 KB
Landscape monitoring update - June 2006 Updates on a variety of topics - web sites, PCA workshop, socio-economic atlases. MS-Word format, 47 KB.
Landscape monitoring update - Dec 2005 Good summary of findings and lessons. Not comprehensive, but informative and with a few highlights. See the updates posted above this item for more detail on specific projects. PDF, 108 KB.
Landscape monitoring update - Oct 2004  Summary of remote sensing activities and related information. MS-Word 49 KB.
Landscape monitoring update - Jan 2004 Summary of I&M, NPS, and selected activities by other agencies actively using remotely sensed data. Initiated at I&M annual meeting, 2003. MS-Word 188 KB.

Other unusually good sources of information

USFS FIA Information

  • Click here to download a zip file with the NPS-USGS FIA MOU, User's Guide, and Confidentiality Certification.
  • Geospatial Data Availability for Haiti: An Aid in the Development of GIS-Based Natural Resource Assessments for Conservation Planning. Maya Quinones, William Gould, and Carlos D. Rodriguez-Pedraza. USFS General Technical Report IITF-GTR-33, February 2007. (

Information on purchasing imagery

USFS Imagery Acquisition Handbook, April 2005 Excellent summary of RS data for environmental monitoring, with brief descriptions and prices for Federal Agency purchase. 2.6 MB.

Good web sites Very complete and up-to-date set of links. Maintained by NASA. Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center Resources for GIS Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group - U. Mt

National / International Applications Relevant to Landscape Monitoring

NPS-USGS Fire Severity Mapping Program
GAP Analysis Program
LANDFIRE Multi-agency LANDFIRE program.
MRLC - Multi-Resolution Land Cover Consortium
NASA's Ecocast Program
NASA Landsat 7 Applications
NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Program
NOAA Topographic Change Mapping
Scanning Hydrographic Operational Airborne Lidar Survey SHOALS => bathymetric mapping.
USFS MODIS Active Fire Maps
USGS Geographic Analysis and Monitoring program (USGS)
USGS Land Cover Characterization Program
USGS National Map

Note: Links and information specific to remote sensing has been moved to the NPS Remote Sensing web site at

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