Report – EV3251 – Take-home examinaition paper [3 essays]

July 2001, EV3251

Take-home examination paper

Product of Stefan Mårtensson, 2001-07-14

First, thanks for a good and very interesting course. Below you will find my contribution and interpretation of the take-home examination paper with essay questions 3, 6 and 8. Happy reading.

Essay 3.

Tourism’s Impact on Wildlife (1356w)

Introduction

Tourism has the potential to provide funds for conservation, to set sustainable user limits, to preserve a nations historical and cultural heritage and to protect natural attractions. It also has the potential to destroy. If tourism is not planned and managed in the right way it can destroy vegetation, create overcrowding which leads to erosion and other impacts including pollution of rivers and beaches and litter, for example, at trekking areas (Goeldner, 2000).

The question how tourism impacts on wildlife is complex and needs to be considered from both ecological conservation management perspectives and from an economic point of view.

There is more information to be retrieved about particular species. If the declines are due to human activities or if it is natural, or perhaps a combination of both. From this knowledge the sustainability of spatial and temporal characteristics of tourism can be meet or at least measured. The precautionary principle could be applied to reach and maintain sustainability.

This essay will discuss what is needed to reach a sustainable but at the same time high quality level of nature-based tourism for present and future generations without negatively impact wildlife.

Will we be forever guilty of loving nature to death? (Shackley, 1996)

Impacts of recreation and nature-based tourism on wildlife

During the last decades of the industrial evolution the small-scale extinctions has become global-scale. This relates to tourism in the way that has been shown in many different places where tourist resorts has been built up and an animal considered as a pest has been exterminated. Later it has been realised that this animal was a keystone species, that is, a species which influence others so extensively that its absence drastically changes the character of the entire community (Valentine, P., JCU, TESAG, 2000 pers. comm.).

Impacts can be both positive and negative. Managers are mostly faced with dealing with negative impacts. The impacts from recreation can have different faces, it can be, bio-physical, bio-mechanical, economic, social, socio-economic, psycho-social etc or combinations of several.

There are both direct and indirect impacts, direct impacts is mostly concerning the harassment and/or harvest of mega-fauna. While indirect impacts mostly influence small animals through habitat modification. All fauna species may be influenced more or less by displacement, change in reproduction level and alteration of behaviour, e.g. through feeding. These three impacts all have an ultimate influence on the species composition and structure i.e. loss of biodiversity (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

The impact from tourism on wildlife is hard to determine and there has been little research in this area. Some factors are, different animals have not an equal value of popularity among the tourists. To get conspicuous wildlife interactions for the benefit of the tourist, food lures are in some places used to attract the animals (Neil et al. 1975). Some animals can cope with environmental changes i.e. disturbance, better than others. Human harassment of animals has been observed to cause severe stress and in some cases the animals even die (Neil et al. 1975). Some animals get used to the tourists and therefore change their behaviour to the wildlife tourists, but this is not necessarily for the better for the animal or for the tourist.

Different cultures have different values for different animals. An animal like a Hairy-nosed wombat, for example, that has been given more potential to survive, even though it endangered, through getting a positive public image. An animal like the African brown hyena has a bad public image through movies and films, and as a result, humans threaten its survival (Bart 1972). Tourism has created and feeds off these images.

The trends also show that large animals are more popular than smaller ones and so are the colourful compared to the not so colourful. People also tend to be interested in “dangerous” species (Shaw and Copper, 1980).

Tourism is not only a terrestrial industry, but also includes marine tourism, especially in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) had a visitation in the early 1980s of about 150 000 which was a 40-fold increase since the 1940s. The capacity of bringing visitors out to the GBR has grown and is expected to grow with about 10% annually from 1985 to approximately 2008. In 1997, over 1.6 million visitors were brought to the area.

Fortunately, from conservation perspective, a majority, around 85%, of the visitors are around Cairns and the Whitsunday areas, which represent about 5% of the total area of the GBR (GBRMPA, 1998).

The popularity of the GBR among tourists is not that hard to understand, as it is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. It is the home of about 1500 species of fishes, around 400 species of hard and soft coral, about 4000 kinds of molluscs and thousands of kinds of sponges, worm, crustaceans, echinoderms and other odd creatures. But large numbers of tourists, can have severe impact on some species especially indirectly in the demand for artefacts such as shells and turtle products (Nick Winn, Reef HQ, pers. comm.).

Among them are the sea turtles of the GBR, where there is seven species of in the world and six of them can be found in the GBR. The turtles are vulnerable to predators throughout life; large cods, groupers, sharks, and crocodiles attack them. But the main predators are humans. In many countries turtles are harvested for their meat, thick shell and eggs. While the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is conserving the turtles within the GBR many neighbouring countries are harvesting them. It is impossible to keep the turtles, or other endangered species, within certain areas. (GBRMPA, 1998).

It has been predicted that, if the present impacts continue, the six species of turtles in the GBR, three will be extinct in 30 years (Nick Winn, Reef HQ, pers. comm.). This is mainly due to tourists that go to places like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and eat turtle soup and eggs, buy jewellery, leather shoes, bags and cosmetic oils that are made from turtle body parts.

Management strategies concerning reduction of negative impacts on wildlife

To be able to reduce the impact on wildlife a greater public awareness through conservation education programmes including a change in ethical, social and economic values, could be conducted through our children’s childhood including primary and secondary schools.

Public education on conservation management has to become more thorough in national parks and perhaps even on the TV to reach the population that already finished their schooling.

If sustainable development is to work it must become an every-day thing the majority of the world’s inhabitants think about and live by. It cannot be something for a selected few or only for educated people. It cannot be something like going to church every Sunday. It cannot be dedicated just to the poor or just to the rich communities or countries in the world.

If sustainable development is to be effective everyone must take responsibility so what is consumed is replaced without production of any pollutants or destruction and degradation of the ecosystems, which future generations will inherit and will depend on (Goeldner, 2000).

It is in human self-interest to maintain biodiversity. Commercial exploitation of wildlife has to be sustainable – this also applies to recreation.

Conclusion

The environmental problems caused by recreation are much debated, and its influences cannot yet be predicted with any assurance. There are people who doubt that there even are any problems. Nonetheless, it is obvious that human activity has altered the world’s environment, and without immediate action, the results may be catastrophic. There is an obvious declining desire in consumers to visit polluted environments and the loss of wildlife and landscape might decrease customer satisfaction and pleasure to travel to some destinations (Goeldner, 2000).

Therefore there are some kinds of tourism that are sustainable and perhaps nature based or ecotourism is most appropriate, but this has to be planned thoroughly and some more research has to be conducted. Tourists also tend to want to see large, colourful and dangerous animals and research has to be conducted to determine how feasible “interactions” with these animals are.

References

Bart W.M. (1972) A hierarchy among attitudes towards animals. Journal of Environmental Education 3:4 pp.4-6.

Goeldner, C.R. (2000) Tourism: principles, practices, philosophises, 8ed. Chichester: Wiley, New York. Chap. 17.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (1998) Information brochures plus URL: www.gbrmpa.gov.au.

Neil P.H., Hoffman R.W. and Gill, R.B. (1975) Effects of harassment on wild animals – an annoted bibliography of selected references Special report 37, 21pp, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver

Shackley M. (1996) Wildlife tourism. Biddles Ltd., Guidford & King’s Lynn, London.

Shaw W.W. and Copper T. (1980) Managing wildlife in national parks for human benefits Proc. 2nd Conf. on Sci. Res. in National Parks 6: pp.189-198.

Essay 6.

Planning, Construction and Monitoring Strategies

of

Walking Tracks and Campgrounds

in Wilderness Areas (1233w)

Introduction

As human populations increase the pressure from urban living encourage people to seek solitude with nature, the number of visitors to protected areas and wilderness areas continues to increase. Protected areas have important values in sustaining human society, especially through conserving cultural heritage. They also provide for the maintenance of representative samples of natural regions and preservation of biological diversity, and are important in protecting the environmental stability of the surrounding areas (WTO/UNEP, 1992).

Issues concerned with construction of walking tracks and campsites in wilderness areas are complex and numerous management actions have been taken to limit impacts in these areas (Cole, 1992).

This essay will discuss the strategies and issues concerning the design, construction and operational phases of such project, also about how success or otherwise can be monitored.

Strategies incorporated for design, construction and operational phases

Research have indicated that most impacts on campsites occur with the initial use, and that an increase in use causes little additional impact (Cole, 1981). Heavily used campsites have been found to loose 87% of their ground cover while low use sites campsites have been found to loose 80% in the same study (Frisell & Duncan, 1965). Cole (1981) suggested that the amount of use is less important than other factors like site location and type of use. Campsites to groups using pack stock (e.g. horses) were six times larger than those only used by backpackers (Cole, 1992). Stock sites had 11 times more damaged trees, had more severely compacted soils, had lost more of their organic litter cover and had been invaded more extensively by exotic pioneer plant species (Cole, 1992).

Large groups have a higher potential to cause impact than small groups do, so do groups travelling without gas/petrol stoves and cook over wood fires every night (Cole, 1992). Considering this, campsites should be kept to a minimum both in size but most importantly in numbers. The major management implication of fragile ecosystems is that considerable site degradation is inevitable, even at very low use intensities (Cole, 1983). Impacts will occur wherever the people camp, so therefore limiting camp numbers and size would help keep the majority of the vast surrounding environment in a near pristine state (Cole, 1983). Site impact would be minimised through improved site selection, visitor education, prohibitions on particular destructive types of use and site management through rehabilitation (Cole, 1983).

The design and construction of new walking tracks and camping sites have to keep these issues in mind. However, the management in an wilderness area will always be a bit sensitive due to definition of wilderness. Wilderness is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain (USA Wilderness Act, 1964). So strictly by definition no camping should be allowed, however, this is not possible nor feasible to prohibit camping in such areas, and the “untrammeled” bit have to be negotiated to keep the rest of the community in a near pristine state.

If I was to design a camping site in an wilderness area I would make designated camping pads i.e. a designated area that have been hardened with a frame with contents of sand. Sand is chosen because it tends not to be able to become compacted over use (Cole, 1992) and it is still not hard to sleep on. In the campsite area camp pads would be aggregated as much as possible without interfering with the psycho-social requirements for the backpackers.

The campsites will be positioned so that the visitors can do a loop consisting of numerous 7-15km sections so experienced hikers can hike two sections in a day while the less experienced still can enjoy the track by doing one section a day.

The magnitude of trail deterioration is determined by characteristics of the trail, its environment and the recreation use of the trail (Deluca et al. 1998). It has been demonstrated that alpine areas are more susceptible to trampling damage than most other environments (Whinam & Chilcott, 1999). Because the backpackers spend more time in the campsites than anyone spot on the tracks, the tracks will only be hardened at scenic spots, edges and other erosive places were a concentration of trampling are likely to occur.

During the construction phase the timber, sand and other hardening equipment needed will be taken in by llamas which has far less impact on the soil than horses (Deluca et al. 1998) and no motorised tools is to be used. The camping pad frames can be pre-done and ready to be put together like an IKEA kitchen type. The sand must be washed, sterilised so it does not spread any contagious microbial diseases which can have devastating effects on the local ecosystem (Zabinski & Gannon, 1997).

Monitoring of outcomes from such strategies

Nature area management often have two objectives: To protect the natural environment and to cater for recreational use (FNNPE 1993). These two objectives are not always compatible, and in order to maintain the natural setting, it is sometimes necessary to regulate the recreational use of an area (Vorkinn, 1998).

Visitor Impact Management (VIM) Principles were developed by U.S. National Parks and Conservation Association (1990). The purpose of VIM was and still is to identify unacceptable changes as a result of visitor use and also to develop management strategies to keep the visitor impacts within a damage threshold (Graefe et al. 1990). VIM also recognises that science is evolving continuously and therefore VIM should be based on the best scientific understanding and situational information available (Graefe et al. 1990).

First a review of management objectives for the wilderness area must be considered in line with the second step in the VIM process (Graefe et al. 1990). Secondly, key indicators, e.g. bare ground, tree damage and fire-rings (Martin et al., 1989), have to be selected before the tracks and campsites are opened. Also a thorough study i.e. an intensive quantitative measurement, have to be conducted to get the ‘before’ picture. The longitudinal data can be obtained through a semi-rapid measurement a year or two after opening of the tracks and campsites.

After opening and after the first measurement after opening, a review of social and ecological indicators have to be performed. If there are any impacts, find the cause and produce a refined management strategy dealing with these impacts. Finally, implement the new strategy and monitor it with set intervals.

Conclusion

In more and more parks and wilderness areas, the amount of use is being limited in order to control user impacts. Several scientists have suggested that managers should allocate a limited number of permits on the basis of the environmental expense of different user groups (Deluca et al. 1998). However, others suggests the opposite that permits and limits of use should be the last resort. Also, reducing visitors have little or no effect on the impacts due to the curve-linear relationship between impacts and number of visitors. Before applying limits of use, regulation on type of use, an educational program and if necessary and appropriate, site hardening and maintenance should be implemented (Cole, 1981). Cole (1981) found that most damage on campsites may be caused by a few atypically destructive parties.

Management objectives in protected areas stress preservation, i.e. no utilitarian use, and protection of wilderness areas in their natural condition and to minimising the evidence of human use (Cole, 1992).

References

Cole, D.N. (1981) Managing Ecological Impacts at Wilderness Campsites: An Evaluation of Techniques. Journal of Forestry. 79: pp. 86-89

Cole, D.N. (1983) Campsite Impact on Three Western Wilderness Areas. Environmental Management. 7: 3. pp. 275-288.

Cole, D.N. (1992) Modelling Wilderness Campsites: Factors That Influence Amount of Impact. Environmental Management. 16: 2. pp. 255-264.

Deluca, T.H., Patterson IV, W.A., Freimund, W.A., Cole, D.N. (1998) Influence of Llamas, Horses and Hikers on Soil Erosion from Established Recreation Trails in Western Montana, USA. Environmental Management. 22: 2. pp. 255-262.

Frisell, S.S. & Duncan, D.P. (1965) Campsite preference and deterioration in the Quetico-Superior canoe country. Journal of Forestry. 63: pp.256-260.

FNNPE (Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe). (1993) Loving them to death? Sustainable tourism in Europe’s nature and national parks. Report from the Federation Working Group. Grafebau, Germany.

Graefe, A.R., Kuss, F.R., & Vaske, J.J. (1990) Visitor Imapact Management – The Planning Framework. National Parks and Conservation Association, Washington, D.C. U.S.A.

Martin, S.R., McCool, S.F. & Lucas, R.C. (1989) Wilderness Campsite Impacts: Do Managers and Visitors See Them the Same? Environmental Management. 13: 5. pp. 623-629.

Vorkinn, M. (1998) Visitor Response to Management Regulations – A Study Among Recreationalists in Southern Norway. Environmental Management vol. 22, No. 5, pp 737-746.

Whinam, J. & Chilcott, N. (1999) Impacts of trampling on alpine environments in central Tasmania. Journal of Environmental Management vol. 57, pp. 205-220.

Zabinski, C.A. & Gannon, J.E. (1997) Effects of Recreational Impacts on Soil Microbial Communities. Environmental Management vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 233-238.

Essay 8.

Can One Characterise Human Impacts

in

Protected Areas? (1449w)

Introduction

Protected Areas have potential to provide funds for conservation and to preserve a nations historical and cultural heritage. With tourism and recreation to the protected areas comes impacts which has the potential to destroy the natural beauties (Goeldner, 2000).

This essay will discuss different kinds of ways to characterise human impacts in protected areas and different ways of managing them.

Spatial and Temporal Characteristics of Human Impacts in Protected Areas

Spatial Characteristics

Much attention to recreational impacts has been focused on amount of use and visible impacts. Human impacts vary with activity and behaviour of the recreationists which can influence the impact levels profoundly (Cole, 1992). Cole (1981) suggested that other factors like site location and type of use are more important than the amount of use. Groups using pack stock (e.g. horses) were shown to create impacts on campsites six times larger than those only used by backpackers (Cole, 1992). Further more, stock sites had had more severely compacted soils, 11 times more damaged trees, had lost more of their organic litter cover and had been invaded more extensively by exotic pioneer plant species (Cole, 1992). Some campers have a more of a utilitarian view on flora and fauna and therefore chop on trees; others tie horses to trees, build bough beds and dig ditches around there tents. These kinds of behaviour cause far more impact than that by ‘low-impact’ campers (Cole, 1992).

Models for both walking tracks and campsites have been invented. The main concentration has been on campsites however, this due to visitors spending most time at campsites than any other one spot on the track. Cole (1992) came up with a standard campsite model, the model assumes a circular campsite with a centre point and that it makes three assumptions to this: (1) all trampling that all trampling occurs by walking back and forth from the centre and the periphery. (2) all directions from the centre are trampled equally and finally, (3) no more time is spent close to the centre than any other distance from the centre. These assumptions gives a gradient of trampling intensity from the centre, decreasing with 50% each doubling of distance towards the periphery (Cole, 1992). This means that if hypothetically there would be 600 tramples per year within the first meter from the centre point, that would equal 300 tramples per year two meters from the centre, 150 tramples four meters from the centre and so on. This model’s purpose is to be able to define the area of the campsite, that is the area which the vegetation cover is less than 75% of the surrounding undisturbed area (Cole, 1992).

Cole (1992) continue to develop his campsite model in his paper which will not be repeated here, however, the same kind of variables are applicable to walking tracks with the tread zone being the centre and with impacts not being circular but longitudinal (Cole, 1992; Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

Temporal Characteristics

The curve-linear relationship between use and impact have been illustrated by many authors. This curve-linear relationship indicates that the initial use is doing the most harm and any additional impact or use will not make a significant difference, e.g. Mission Mountain and Rattlesnake Wilderness areas where most vegetation loss was after use as low as a few times per year and it was found that any additional use caused little additional vegetation loss (Cole, 1983).

Strategies of visitor and site management,

concerning human induced impacts in protected areas

Visitor management, is far more economic that a site management strategy. In the Outdoor Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) the criteria are dominated by visitor management (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.). Below are the eight major techniques for visitor management described.

(I) Limitation of Amount of Use, this is perhaps the easiest way of dealing with visitor management, but should, however, be considered as the last line of defence due to the purpose of the park can be influenced. Due to the relationship between site impact and numbers of visitors is not linear decreasing the amount of use does not necessarily mean decrease in impacts. Psycho-social impacts may be reduced but not environmental (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(II) Dispersal of Use, many authors argue that “dispersal of use is dispersal of impacts”. Due to the curve-linear relationship between impacts and amount of use, the initial use makes the most impact and therefore it would not very ecologically sustainable to spread out the use over larger areas (Cole, 1981; 1983; 1992). Cole (1983) suggested that in some alpine wilderness campsites where the visitation is less or equal to one visitor per year dispersal of camping could be sustainable, however, many areas do not have next to none visitation (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(III) Concentration of Use, because the threshold is very low in some fragile environments like mountainous/alpine environments, limiting use to just a few sites would result in less impact overall than dispersing the visitor use over a larger amount of sites (Cole, 1983; (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.). Concentration of use has been labelled “sacrifice site concept” so the surroundings can be kept in a close to pristine state. However, this concept is understandingly unpopular in wilderness areas (Cole, 1981). But do managers have any choices? Considering in some alpine areas like the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, complete recovery of disturbed sites has been estimated to take as much as 1.000 years (Willard and Marr, 1971).

(IV) Limitations on Length of Stay, this is a popular management technique where the manager can estimate impacts due to knowledge of visitor days. E.g. if the campsite is popular and the site if fully booked out then ‘full impact’ can be expected, if not so popular then the manager have fewer and/or not so severe impacts to deal with (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(V) Seasonal Limitations on Use, some areas are more sensitive during some times of the year e.g. the rainforests are more prone to erosion and soil damage during the wet season and other issues could be disturbance of breeding seasons for wildlife (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(VI) Zoning, this management technique is quite common. “All areas cannot provide satisfaction for all people all the time”. Where the park is divided into different zones with different protection and with different types of use. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBR) and Yellowstone National Park are examples of parks with zoning for different use. In the GBR extractive use is even allowed to some extent, which the author is quite surprised about (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(VII) Party Size Limits, “the fewer the better” (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

(VIII) Low Impact Education, this technique is seen as very useful by scientists. To be able to reduce the impact on flora and fauna a greater public awareness through conservation education programmes including a change in ethical, social and economic values, could be conducted through our children’s childhood including primary and secondary schools.

Public education on conservation management has to become more thorough in national parks and protected areas and perhaps even on the TV to reach the population that already finished their schooling. It is however important to target the audience.

Site Management Techniques, are very common in high use areas where the use have reached the top of the curve-linear graph and change of visitor behaviour would not change the impacts. This can be done by locating use on resistant sites, hardening the surface and temporary close the area for rehabilitation (Turton, S., JCU, TESAG, 2001 pers. comm.).

Conclusion

It is clear that there is an increasing need for management in our protected areas, and is also clear that if all visitor would have had more respect for the environment the impacts would been far less than they are today. Visitor management aims to change to visitor to the environment instead of changing the environment to the visitor through site management.

If sustainable use is to work it must become an every-day thing the majority of the world’s inhabitants think about and live by. It cannot be something for a selected few or only for educated people. It cannot be something like going to church every Sunday. It cannot be dedicated just to the poor or just to the rich communities or countries in the world.

If sustainable development is to be effective everyone must take responsibility so what is consumed is replaced without production of any pollutants or destruction and degradation of the ecosystems, which future generations will inherit and will depend on (Goeldner, 2000).

References

Cole, D.N. (1981) Managing Ecological Impacts at Wilderness Campsites: An Evaluation of Techniques. Journal of Forestry. 79: pp. 86-89

Cole, D.N. (1983) Campsite Impact on Three Western Wilderness Areas. Environmental Management. 7: 3. pp. 275-288.

Cole, D.N. (1992) Modelling Wilderness Campsites: Factors That Influence Amount of Impact. Environmental Management. 16: 2. pp. 255-264.

Goeldner, C.R. (2000) Tourism: principles, practices, philosophises, 8ed. Chichester: Wiley, New York. Chap. 17.

Willard, B.E. and Marr, J.W. (1971) Recovery of Alpine Tundra Under Protection After Damage by Human Activities in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Biological Conservation. 3: pp. 181-190.

Leave a Reply