Recreation and environmental quality of tropical wetlands: A social media based spatial analysis
Here we test an application, based on the analysis of the metadata of geotagged photographs, to investigate the provision of recreational services by the network of wetland ecosystems in the state of Kerala, India. We estimate visitation to individual wetlands state-wide and extend, for the first time to a developing region, the emerging application of recreational ecosystem services (ES) modelling using data from social media and environmental quality data. The impacts of restoration of wetland areal extension and water quality improvement are explored as a means to inform sustainable management strategies. Findings show that improving water quality to a level suitable for the preservation of wildlife and fisheries could increase annual recreational visits by 13% (350,000) to wetlands state-wide. Results support the notion that passive crowdsourced data from social media has the potential to improve current ecosystem service analyses and environmental management practices also in the context of developing countries.
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