Developing ecological indicators of visitor use of protected areas : a new integrated framework from Australia
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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 over-use 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. We have developed a framework that integrates visitor impact monitoring and evaluation within adaptive management cycles to improve management responses. The framework uses existing management processes, where possible, 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. The framework follows a sequential, adaptive cycle of identifying natural asset values, their vulnerability, and use by visitors to derive appropriate indicators for monitoring. The indicators selected using the framework are linked to existing evaluation frameworks to provide baseline information for core protected area evaluation 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.
Australasian Journal of Environmental Management
© 2009 Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Impacts of Tourism