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.
© 2008 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences From AMBIO, by Ralf Buckley, Carolyn Littlefair Reprinted by permission of Allen Press Publishing Services