An integrated framework for developing ecological indicators of visitor use in protected areas
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Sustainable tourism is considered an appropriate use of many Australian protected areas. However, such use needs to be managed and the effectiveness of management needs to be assessed as overuse can adversely affect the natural environment. Monitoring and management of visitor impacts requires integration into evaluation frameworks to enable more efficient reporting but within Australia this appears to be poorly developed. To assist with the future management of visitors in protected areas we have developed a framework which integrates visitor impact monitoring and evaluation within adaptive management cycles to improve management responses. The framework uses, as far as possible, existing management process for focusing monitoring efforts and selecting appropriate ecological indicators. This focus is achieved through a process of prioritisation of natural assets used by visitors, or those likely to be impacted by visitor use. Here we review the value of the natural asset, its vulnerability as well as the type and severity of visitor use. The indicators selected using this framework are linked to existing evaluation frameworks (e.g. WCPA) to provide a baseline information for core protected area evaluation subjects (e.g. change in condition estimates) across a variety of spatial scales. We outline the functionality of the framework using a six step process and expand on the ability of the framework to be applied in other protected area management situations.
Australian Protected Areas Congress Proceedings
Environmental Impact Assessment
Impacts of Tourism