Conserving and Restoring Ecosystems
Protected areas provide a wide range of social, environmental and economic benefits to people and communities worldwide. These areas (national parks, wildlife refuges, etc.) serve as vital reservoirs for ecosystem services and natural resources, while providing opportunities for people to participate in outdoor activities and connect with nature. Today, some 209,000 protected areas cover more than 15 percent of the world’s land surface and 3.4 percent of the ocean area. Unfortunately, many of these areas are under increasing pressure from development, fragmentation, invasive species, tourism and other threats.
NC State’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management is committed to safeguarding these special places. Our interdisciplinary team of faculty experts and graduate students collaborate with federal, state and nonprofit partners to understand and enhance priority issues related to protected areas policy, planning and management. The resulting knowledge provides decision-makers with the tools and strategies necessary to effectively plan and implement sustainable management practices, ultimately creating healthier lands and happier visitors.
Our Research in Action
Attendance Trends Threaten Future Operations of America’s State Park Systems
A new study by NC State researchers suggests that state park systems in the United States may become underfunded as attendance rates continue to swell.
Meet Our Experts
Interested in parks and protected areas research? Contact our faculty to learn more and get involved.
- Bethany Cutts, Assistant Professor
- Lincoln Larson, Assistant Professor
- KangJae “Jerry” Lee, Assistant Professor
- Yu-Fai Leung, Professor and Graduate Program Director
- Jelena Vukomanovic, Assistant Professor