Recent advances in recreation ecology and the implications of different relationships between recreation use and ecological impacts
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Recreation ecology – the study of the environmental consequences of outdoor recreation/nature-based tourism activities and their effective management – is an emerging field of global importance. A primary research generalization in this field, the use–impact relationship, is commonly described as curvilinear, with proportionally more impact from initial recreation/tourism use. This finding has formed the basis of visitor management strategies in parks, wilderness, and protected areas in many parts of the world. In this paper, however, we argue that the current generalization may be an oversimplification derived from one ecological response: the response of vegetation cover in some plant communities to trampling. Use–response functions for other plant communities, wildlife, soils, and aquatic/marine systems, for example, can differ and require alternative management strategies for sustainable use. On the basis of the available literature, we propose several alternative response relationships.
Monz, C.A., Pickering, C.M., Hadwen, W. 2013 Recent advances in recreation ecology and the implications of different relationships between recreation use and ecological impacts. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(8): 441–446.