The role of tourism in spreading dieback disease in Australian vegetation
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Commercial tourism and private recreation in national parks and other areas of high conservation value are continuing to grow in both economic and environmental significance (Buckley, 2000a). Some impacts are local, others diffuse; some immediately obvious, others not; some ecologically significant, others less so; some recover if tourists are removed, whereas others continue to increase; some are easily controlled and managed, others not (Buckley, 20006). The most serious are those that are important but insidious: diffuse, not immediately obvious, self-propagating, irreversible and damaging to conservation. Prime examples include feral animals 1 weeds and pathogens; and one such pathogen is the oomycete Phytophthora cinnamomi, commonly known as jarrah dieback or cinnamon fungus. A number of other Phytophthora and Pythium species also cause plant dieback diseases (Erwin and Ribeiro, 1996; Podger and Keane, 2000; Shearer and Smith, 2000) but P. cinnamomi is particularly virulent and easily spread. Historically 1 construction of logging and mining roads into production forests has been of particular concern in spreading P. cinnamomi (Newhook and Podger, 1972; Podger et al., 1996). More recently 1 however, the role of tourism and recreation in dispersing dieback disease into protected areas has received increased attention (Shearer1 1990; Podger et al., 1996). It is this role that we review here. To provide an appreciation for its significance, however, the life history, distribution and ecological effects of P. cinnamomi are first summarized below.
Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism