Carrying Capacity: An Uncomfortable Truth
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The concept of carrying capacity and its relevance as a visitor management tool has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. However, it is an uncomfortable truth that in popular protected areas the numbers and behaviours of visitors need to be controlled if conservation and experience values are to be sustained into the future. This paper summarises the recent critique of carrying capacity and introduces a new Australian visitor management framework developed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife for addressing capacity issues in protected areas. The Sustainable Visitor Capacity (SVC) methodology is a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to assessing visitor sites for landscape quality, values and impacts so that these may be linked to requirements for more effectively managing visitor engagement with the resource. Outputs inform infrastructure and education needs, visitor use patterns, desired behaviours and appropriate visitor numbers.
Australian Protected Areas Congress 2008: Protected Areas in the Century of Change
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