National Park Service

Sierra Nevada Network (SIEN)


Botanists collecting vegetation data at a wetlands monitoring plot in Devils Postpile National Monument
Botanists collecting vegetation data at a wetlands monitoring plot in Devils Postpile National Monument.

The intent of park vital signs monitoring is to track a subset of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes of park ecosystems that are selected to represent the overall health or condition of park resources, known or hypothesized effects of stressors, or elements that have important human values.

The elements and processes that are monitored are a subset of the total suite of natural resources that park managers are directed to preserve "unimpaired for future generations," including water, air, geological resources, plants and animals, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on those resources. In situations where natural areas have been so highly altered that physical and biological processes no longer operate (e.g., control of fires and floods in developed areas), information obtained through monitoring can help managers understand how to develop the most effective approach to restoration or, in cases where restoration is impossible, ecologically sound management.

Click here to see a listing of the individual vital signs sampled for the Sierra Nevada Network.

The SIEN Monitoring Plan provides a detailed description of the strategy for monitoring these vital signs. The table below shows the detailed monitoring protocols used to sample these vital signs to date.

Published Protocols Vital Signs
  1. Birds
  1. Weather & Climate
  2. Snowpack
High-elevation Forests
  1. Forest Dynamics
  1. Water Chemistry
  2. Lake Level
  3. Amphibians
Protocols in Preparation Vital Signs
River Hydrology
  1. Surface Water Dynamics
  1. Plant Communities
  2. Macro-invertebrates
  3. Water Dynamics
Unfunded Protocols Vital Signs
Landscape Dynamics
  1. Landscape Mosaics
  2. Fire Regimes
  3. Fire Effects on Plant Communities

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster