Yellowstone could almost be viewed as concentric rings of varying “naturalness”. In the park, there are wilderness areas that require almost no energy inputs from humans. Then there are more managed areas, where forest products are occasionally harvested. The roads, drainage schemes and hydrological disruption that come with these types of activities require more energy to maintain. The final circle is the highly transformed and maintained landscape of agricultural activity with the requisite chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and petroleum powered machinery needed to both sow and harvest crops. While the Yellowstone model does a good job preserving many thousands of hectares of land in the wilderness, a developing National Park would want to note the ecological impact of hemming in these most natural areas with less natural areas. In the case of Yellowstone, it has been determined that the ecological needs of the largest fauna in the wilderness areas cannot be met by the amount of land set aside. Park planners and developers in the developing world will want to learn from Yellowstone and be sure to plan an appropriate range of habitats within the ecosystem.
The future implications for the current Yellowstone management model are many. Because the model is based upon ecology and the ranges of the species that the park is intended to protect, much more study should be done before setting the boundaries of the park. This can be seen as the evolution of Yellowstone’s management model has been revealed. Originally the park was just to encompass the unique geologic features. But later, this constricting boundary was determined to be hurting the species that had come to represent the park, namely the grizzly bear, elk and pronghorn sheep.
In the paper “Yellowstone Management Model” the author discusses the management model used in Yellowstone for managing National Parks. Yellowstone gives us an example of what a park looks like that has been managed for well over a century. …
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