Inventories, monitoring and research are essential programs that give us information necessary to implement high-quality ecosystem management. Inventory procedures allow us to take stock of what plants, animals and habit types we have in our ecosystems. Since you cannot properly manage what you don’t know, inventories are often the first course towards effective management. Where inventories give us numbers of species, population size and acreages, further monitoring of populations and acreages allow us to see changes in what we are charged to manage, and allow us to pursue ways to adjust our practices accordingly to meet our management goals. As inventories and monitoring are essential stepping stones to management, research is warranted when these procedures indicate problems or data gaps within an ecosystem that must be investigated to determine the proper management direction. These three processes form an encyclopedia of information which our management decisions are based on and allow us to practice effective conservation, preservation and restoration.
To illustrate inventory, monitoring and research processes on the refuge, continue reading about a prime example, "A Case for Panthers."