Vital Signs Monitoring Program
The Northeast Coastal Barrier Network is currently in the planning phase to create a monitoring program to adequately address our monitoring goals. These goals include the development of a firm foundation of scientific information to benefit the supervision and management of the natural resources within the National Park System.
The recommended approach to establish a monitoring program is spelled out by the National Park Service. The steps in this recommended approach are organized into a 3-Phase Approach. Phase 1 entails defining the specific goals of the network, beginning the process of reviewing the current data, and developing conceptual models of the monitoring approach. Phase 2 requires the selection and prioritization of "Vital Signs". Phase 3 involves designing the specific research objectives of each vital sign and determining research methodology, statistical design, data management design, and product creation.
Vital Signs, or ecological indicators, are our key monitoring elements to indicate the health of an ecosystem. These can be any measurable feature of the environment that provides insight into the state of the ecosystem, including compositional (referring to the variety of elements in the system), structural (referring to the organization or pattern of the system), or functional features (referring to ecological processes). Each network selects vital signs which are significant to that network's parks.
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