The present report proposes to discuss wildlife management in the
national parks in terms of three questions which shift emphasis
progressively from the general to the specific:
It is acknowledged that this Advisory Board was requested by the
Secretary of the Interior to consider particularly one of the methods of
management, namely, the procedure of removing excess ungulates from some
of the parks. We feel that this specific question can only be viewed
objectively in the light of goals and operational policies, and our
report is framed accordingly. In speaking of national parks we refer to
the whole system of parks and monuments; national recreation areas are
discussed briefly near the end of the report.
As a prelude to presenting our thoughts on the goals, policies, and
methods of managing wildlife in the parks of the United States we wish
to quote in full a brief report on "Management of National Parks and
Equivalent Areas" which was formulated by a committee of the First World
Conference on National Parks that convened in Seattle in July, 1962.
The committee consisted of 15 members of the Conference, representing
eight nations; the chairman was Francois Bourliere of France. In our
judgment this report suggests a firm basis for park management. The
statement of the committee follows:
"1. Management is defined as any activity directed
toward achieving or maintaining a given condition in plant and/or animal
populations and/or habitats in accordance with the conservation plan for
the area. A prior definition of the purposes and objectives of each park
Management may involve active manipulation of the plant and animal
communities, or protection from modification or external influences.
2. Few of the world's parks are large enough to be in fact self-
regulatory ecological units; rather, most are ecological islands subject
to direct or indirect modification by activities and conditions in the
surrounding areas. These influences may involve such factors as
immigration and/or emigration of animal and plant life, changes in the
fire regime, and alterations in the surface or subsurface water.
3. There is no need for active modification to maintain large
examples of the relatively stable "climax" communities which under
protection perpetuate themselves indefinitely. Examples of such
communities include large tracts of undisturbed rain-forest, tropical
mountain paramos, and arctic tundra.
4. However, most biotic communities are in a constant state of
change due to natural or man-caused processes of ecological succession.
In these "successional" communities it is necessary to manage the
habitat to achieve or stabilize it at a desired stage. For example, fire
is an essential management tool to maintain East African open savanna or
5. Where animal populations get out of balance with their habitat
and threaten the continued existence of a desired environment,
population control becomes essential. This principle applies, for
example, in situations where ungulate populations have exceeded the
carrying capacity of their habitat through loss of predators,
immigration from surrounding areas, or compression of normal migratory
patterns. Specific examples include excess populations of elephants in
some African parks and of ungulates in some mountain parks.
6. The need for management, the feasibility of management methods,
and evaluation of results must be based upon current and continuing
scientific research. Both the research and management itself should be
undertaken only by qualified personnel. Research, management planning,
and execution must take into account, and if necessary regulate, the
human uses for which the park is intended.
7. Management based on scientific research is, therefore, not only
desirable but often essential to maintain some biotic communities in
accordance with the conservation plan of a national park or equivalent