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University of New South Wales (2009)

Towards sustainable tourism in outback Australia : the behaviour and impact of nature-based tourists on vegetation and selected wildlife species

Wolf, Isabelle Diana

Titre : Towards sustainable tourism in outback Australia : the behaviour and impact of nature-based tourists on vegetation and selected wildlife species

Auteur : Wolf, Isabelle Diana Felicitas Gudula

Grade :Doctor of Philosophy PhD (2009)

Université de soutenance : University of New South Wales

Résumé
Nature-based tourism offers significant socio-economic incentives to successfully replace more intrusive land uses but also causes negative environmental impacts. Currently, knowledge is needed about the effectiveness of specific management actions such as the provision of different access modes and tour experiences at minimizing these impacts while maximizing visitor satisfaction.Nature-based tourism activities were studied in the species-rich gorges of the Flinders Ranges in Outback Australia. This study developed a conceptual framework of visitor-environment relationships, constructed a regional visitor profile, assessed visitor monitoring methods to quantify usage intensity in relation to the access mode (roads vs. hiking trails), examined changes in vegetation and bird communities in relation to usage intensity and access mode, tested effects of approach behaviour among driving vs. hiking tourists on kangaroo behaviour, and designed a framework for a night-time wildlife tour.The usage intensity of gorge sections was best determined from visitor numbers stratified by their behaviour, as the access mode fundamentally changed visitor behaviour in gorges. High compared to low usage recreational tracks altered species community composition, decreased total plant cover, increased non-native species cover, increased or decreased plant diversity depending on the track distance, increased soil compaction, and decreased bird numbers and species richness. Vegetation changes had secondary aversive effects on the bird community. The magnitude and spatial extent of these community impacts were greater along roads than trails. Visitor approach towards kangaroos varied with the access mode and necessitated individual recommendations for low-impact behaviour. The optimal night-time observation tour employed night-vision devices and bat detectors and coupled visitor satisfaction with low impact on wildlife. A range of factors (e.g., weather conditions) moderated the susceptibility of the wildlife to tourism disturbance.To protect wildlife and habitat along recreational tracks in arid-lands gorges, it is recommended to (1) monitor usage intensity and the identified impact indicators within their effect zone, (2) curtail gorge usage by restricting vehicle access to sections and regulating high impact activities (e.g., wild camping), (3) base environmental education upon scientifically tested low-impact visitor behaviour, and (4) engage with tourism operators in the design of low-impact, yet satisfying tours based on scientific principles.

Mots clés : Sustainable tourism, Nature-based tourism, Sustainability, Wildlife tourism, Diversity, Arid, Australia, Usage intensity, Visitor monitoring, Bird community, Vegetation community, Kangaroo behaviour, Night-time observation, Night vision device, Bat detection, Impact, Visitor satisfaction, Tour experience, Invasive species, Species indicator, Flight

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Page publiée le 29 août 2010, mise à jour le 16 juillet 2017