Great Horned Owl


Through the efforts of park educators, interpreters, scientists and citizen scientists our understanding of phenological change in the parks and surrounding landscapes is growing.  Parks engage in a range of data collection methods to capture phenology, from individual plants and animals to landscapes; these include repeat photography, remote sensing, and ground observations. In addition, parks are capatilizing on USA-NPN data, data products, and maps to inform decision-making. Recent findings include:

  • Spring is advancing in 3 out of 4 natural resource parks, and the timing is extreme in 53% of parks, with implications for resource management and operations. 
  • Invasive plants are able to take advantage of earlier springs with more flexible phenology, giving them an edge on native species experiencing climate change; Phenology research supports bufflegrass management in Saguaro National Park by predicting when and where buffelgrass should be treated.
  • Phenology across latitudinal and elevational gradients in California responds to complex rainfall and temperature cues.

Park managers are leveraging this information, and other results of monitoring, to time park events from wildflower festivals to rare plant monitoring to invasive species removal.