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Global Conservation

Guanacos (members of the Camelid family) in Perito Moreno National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina.

The National Park Service has been a leader in the global national park movement. The world's first national park—Yellowstone—was established by the United States Congress in 1872. Since then, the idea of creating nationally significant parks has spread to over 100 countries. The National Park Service also provides technical assistance and advice to countries around the globe.

In addition, natural resources such as air, water, and animals cross international boundaries. An example from the Partners in Flight web site is neotropical bird migrants, species that breed in the Nearctic (North America) and winter in the Neotropics (Central and South America). Partners In Flight / Compañeros en Vuelo / Partenaires d'Envol was launched in 1990 in response to growing concerns about declines in the populations of many land bird species, and to emphasize the conservation of birds not covered by existing conservation initiatives. The central premise of Partners In Flight has been that the resources of public and private organizations in North and South America must be combined, coordinated, and increased in order to achieve success in conserving bird populations in this hemisphere.

In 1970, the United Nations created the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program to provide a framework for global cooperation in finding solutions to environmental programs. Under the auspices of the U. S. MAB Program, a site that is representative of a biogeographic province may be designated a Biosphere Reserve if other criteria are met too. Such sites are dedicated to research on the function and management of ecosystems and on ways to support sustainable, integrated development.

Some places transcend time and national boundaries and become the common inheritance of mankind. These places are now given international recognition as World Heritage Sites or Biosphere Reserves. Mammoth Cave National Park is just one example of a park that has been designated a World Heritage Site and part of an International Biosphere Reserve.

Several NPS sites have established "sister park" relationships in the last few years with national parks in other countries. These partnerships increase information sharing and direct park-to-park Contact, primarily through the use of improved telecommunications technologies.

Last Updated: June 08, 2011