Modelling nature-based recreation to inform land management

Hornigold, Karen (2016) Modelling nature-based recreation to inform land management. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Countryside recreation is hugely popular and demand is on the rise. Whilst participation
should be encouraged, sensitive management is required to reduce associated
environmental impacts. This thesis investigates current and future patterns in countryside
recreation at multiple spatial scales, from national to site, to explore the potential impacts
on biodiversity and enhance the evidence base for conservation interventions.
A national-level recreation model is developed from a unique and massive data set
of georeferenced recreational visits collected over 3 years, which predicts the probability
of visitation as a function of land cover composition and accessibility to and within a site,
whilst controlling for source population and socio-demographic differences. Land cover
types were subdivided into proportion designated and non-designated for high nature
value, using Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as a proxy. Probability of visitation
to preferred land covers, coast and freshwater, decreased when SSSI designated, with no
effect for broadleaved woodland. Therefore general recreational use by the public did not
represent an important ecosystem service of protected high-nature-value areas. The model
was employed to create national- and county-level spatially-explicit predictions of
countryside recreation under present and future conditions, the conservation implications
of which are discussed.
As species conservation requires knowledge of how recreational pressure is
distributed throughout a site, a novel methodology was developed using Thetford Forest as
a case study. GIS-based Network Analysis was combined with statistical modelling to
predict the number of disturbance events from recreationists for all path sections
throughout the site. This tool was able to test the consequences of altering site access on
the number of hypothetical new woodlark territories likely to become occupied.
This study contributes to a relatively small body of work on the importance of
biodiversity for recreation and provides novel spatial approaches for quantifying demand
and testing conservation interventions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2017 11:46
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2019 00:38


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