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Optimising recreation services from protected areas – Understanding the role of natural values, built infrastructure and contextual factors

E.C. Heagney, John Rose (), A. Ardeshiri and M. KovaÄ

Ecosystem Services, 2018, vol. 31, issue PC, 358-370

Abstract: Effective management of recreation within protected areas requires a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of site visitation. To date, large multi-site studies that compare recreation demand for protected areas in response to underlying site attributes are rare, and have generally been restricted to high-profile, high-visitation sites. Our study, undertaken in south-eastern Australia, is the first to use random utility travel cost methods to explore recreational preferences across all sites within a large protected area network. We applied a novel zero-inflation statistical correction to identify the value of recreation demand arising in response to a broad range of site attributes, including protected area size, remoteness, natural values and built infrastructure. We find a strong influence of built infrastructure on recreation demand, but only a subset of the 9 infrastructure types modelled consistently generated recreation demand across the protected areas network. Other infrastructure contributed positively or negatively to tourism demand depending on contextual factors like site remoteness and the availability of recreation substitutes. We discuss the implications for protected area management at both the site- and network- scales, and as well as implications for designing more effective travel cost studies that allow the robust transfer of study findings to other protected area sites.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.10.007

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