Interpretation reduces ecological impacts of visitors to World Heritage site
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Minimal-impact interpretation is widely used to reduce the ecological impacts of visitors to protected areas. We tested whether verbal appeals and/or role-model demonstrations of minimal-impact behavior by a trained guide reduced noise, litter, and trampling impacts on hiking trails in a subtropical rainforest. Interpretation did reduce impacts significantly. Different interpretive techniques were more effective for different impacts. The experimental groups were mature, well-educated professionals; interpretation may differ in effectiveness for different visitors. Interpretation by skilled guides can indeed reduce visitor impacts in protected areas, especially if role modeling is combined with verbal appeals.
Copyright 2008 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences From AMBIO, by Ralf Buckley, Carolyn Littlefair Reprinted by permission of Allen Press Publishing Services