“Earth’s biodiversity is the product of past evolution, and is not, nor has it ever been, static. Hence, conservation programs should try to preserve processes (such as evolution) that affect living organisms and ecosystems rather than conserving the current status quo of the living world.”
Alan R. Templeton
Collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris collaris).
At its most basic level, the National Park Service (NPS) mission is to protect and preserve resources. Yet meaningful assessment of our success in this broad mandate can be difficult. In parks set aside to preserve exceptional natural resources, aspects such as water quality, species diversity, and natural processes will inevitably be part of the “protection and preservation” yardstick. But managers must also consider other issues when implementing the NPS mission. For example, on a global scale, human activities are causing massive impacts on biodiversity at the ecosystem, community, species, and genetic levels. Though impacts on species diversity are often more obvious and thus receive more human attention, impacts on genetic diversity affect the very foundation of all the other levels.
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This page updated:
1 June 2007
Suggested citation for this article:
Smith, A. R., and A. R. Templeton. 2007. Using prescribed fire to restore evolutionary processes at Ozark National Scenic Riverways: The case of the collared lizard. Park Science 24(2):84–88,93.
Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/archive/PDF/Article_PDFs/ParkScience24(2)Winter2006-2007_84-88_93_Smith_2556.pdf.
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