Managing environmental impacts of recreation and tourism in rainforests of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area

Turton, Stephen M. (2005) Managing environmental impacts of recreation and tourism in rainforests of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area. Geographical Research, 43 (2). pp. 140-151.

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This paper describes environmental impacts of tourism and recreation activities in the world heritage listed rainforests of northeast Australia and presents management strategies for sustainable visitor use of the protected area. Tropical rainforests are characterised by their low resistance and moderate to high resilience to impacts associated with human visitation. Visitor use in the World Heritage Area is mostly associated with walking tracks, camping areas, day use areas and off-road vehicle use of old forestry roads and tracks. Adverse environmental impacts range from vegetation trampling, soil compaction, water contamination and soil erosion at the local scale through to spread of weeds, feral animals and soil pathogens along extensive networks of old forestry roads and tracks at the regional scale. Concentration of visitor use is the most desirable management strategy for controlling adverse impacts at most World Heritage Area visitor nodes and sites, and includes methods such as site hardening and shielding to contain impacts. For dispersed visitor activities, such as off-road vehicle driving and long-distance walking, application of best practice methods by the tourist industry and recreational users such as removal of mud and soils from vehicle tyres and hiking boots before entering pathogen-free catchments, together with seasonal closure of roads and tracks, are the preferred management strategies. Retention of canopy cover at camping areas and day use areas, as well as along walking tracks and forestry roads is a simple, yet effective, management strategy for reduction of a range of adverse impacts, including dispersal of weeds and feral animals, edge effects, soil erosion and nutrient loss, road kill and linear barrier effects on rainforest fauna.

Item ID: 1733
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1745-5871
Keywords: biodiversity, conservation, environmental impacts, rainforests, recreation, sustainable tourism, world heritage area
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Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2007
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150601 Impacts of Tourism @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 49%
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