Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Steve Running

Commitee Members

Andrew Hansen, Solomon Dobrowski


Climate Change, Moisture Index, National Parks, NPP


University of Montana


The U.S. National Parks are an integral part of our National Heritage. They are now, more than ever, experiencing threats from outside forces that are difficult to evaluate, such as climate change. The magnitude and direction of change will vary spatially across the landscape, making it difficult for park managers to adopt just one approach to managing for climate change. Therefore, there must be a systematic way to analyze climate trends and the subsequent effects on ecosystems, which is unbiased and useful in varying climates and landscapes. Through robust quantification of the rates of change for key climate variables (temperature, precipitation), and ecosystem health indicators (available water and net primary productivity; NPP) we identified the National Park System units that are rapidly changing with respect to climate and ecosystem productivity. Additionally, we compared the NPS units with the surrounding, protected area centered ecosystem (PACE), to identify which parks were undergoing different changes from their surroundings and vice versa. At these local scales, recent trends in NPP are being driven by land use change, disturbances or sever climate changes (drought) therefore the analysis of NPP trends can be used to monitor changes in disturbance patterns. This study provides key insight into relative rates and drivers of change for 60 national parks and their surrounding ecosystems.

Appendix A

Appendix B



© Copyright 2010 Jessica R. Haas