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.
Recreational boating increases globally and associated moorings are often placed in vegetated habitats important for fish recruitment. Meanwhile, assessments of the effects of boating on vegetation, and potential effects on associated fish assemblages are rare. Here, we analysed (i) the effect of small-boat marinas on vegetation structure, and (ii) juvenile fish abundance in relation to vegetation cover in shallow wave-sheltered coastal inlets. We found marinas to have lower vegetation cover and height, and a different species composition, compared to control inlets. This effect became stronger with increasing berth density. Moreover, there was a clear positive relationship between vegetation cover and fish abundance. We conclude that recreational boating and related moorings are associated with reduced cover of aquatic vegetation constituting important habitats for juvenile fish. We therefore recommend that coastal constructions and associated boating should be allocated to more disturbance tolerant environments (e.g. naturally wave-exposed shores), thereby minimizing negative environmental impacts.
Because of demographic and tourism increase, coastal areas are facing higher numbers of recreational users. Together with other factors (environmental quality, protection status), the level of use affects the spatial distribution of users. This level also affects the quality of user experience, because beyond a certain level, the number of users results in decreased user satisfaction; this is the social carrying capacity (SCC), which depends on user and site characteristics. This study assessed the SCC in a popular coastal area and examined how it influences the spatial distribution of users. Boat and visitor counts as well as data from a questionnaire-based survey were analyzed to assess i) crowding perception, ii) factors affecting the disturbance associated with use level, and iii) user's coping strategies when managing high use levels. The results demonstrated that crowding perception and disturbances associated with use level depend on-site characteristics, use level, and user characteristics. Boat type was the main factor affecting user's coping strategy. SCC significantly differed between sites and according to the use level anticipated by users. The SCC was fulfilled at every site within the marine protected areas, except for the sites experiencing the lowest use level. This study provides novel and valuable information for the field of recreational use management, when attempting to achieve either sustainable use goals through SCC assessment or biodiversity conservation goals through the effect of SCC on the spatial distribution of pressures related to recreational uses.
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities that are highly valued by society. For the purposes of conducting a meta-analysis we build an extensive global dataset of marine recreational ecosystem service values from the literature. Using this database we developed a number of meta-regression specifications with the objective of evaluating the study specific effects of location, ecosystem, valuation methodology and statistical estimation methods on the reported value estimates. Furthermore, the paper investigates if cultural differences between studies are an important determinant that should be considered in international (meta-analytical) value transfer. This was achieved by including a number of cultural parameters from previous societal studies and surveys into our meta-regression models. We found that accounting for differences in cultural dimensions across recreation valuation studies had a significant influence on value estimates. While a multi-level modelling approach that controls for study effects, proved to be a better fit than a standard one level specification, we found that the absolute in-sample transfer errors associated with the standard OLS model were slightly less on average based on the differences between the actual and predicted values in our meta-database.
Shoreline recession due to the combined effect of waves, tides and sea level rise is increasingly becoming a major threat to beaches, one of the main assets of seaside tourist destinations. Given such an uncertain future climate and the climate-sensitive nature of many decisions that affect the long term, there is a growing need to shift current approaches towards probabilistic frameworks able to take uncertainty into account. This study contributes to climate change research by exploring the effects of erosion on the recreation value of beaches as a key indicator in the tourism sector. The new paradigm relates eroded sand to geographic and socioeconomic aspects and other physical settings, including beach type, quality and accesses, yielding monetary estimates of risk in probabilistic terms. Additionally, we look into policy implications regarding tourism management, adaptation and risk reduction. The methodology was implemented in 57 beaches in Asturias (north of Spain).
Subtropical reefs are biogeographic transition zones, providing critical habitat for a range of tropical, subtropical and temperate biota, including many endemic species. To date, limited research has been conducted on assessing the level of SCUBA diving risks to subtropical benthic habitats. This study surveyed 407 SCUBA divers to determine the types and rates of contact presenting the greatest risk to benthic taxa. Data were aggregated to give the total number of severe contacts for each diver. Site-level analysis based on 95% confidence level showed that severe impacts were more probable as reef complexity increased vertically. A general linear regression model was used to assess the level of risk to habitat based on the contact type and benthic percentage cover. SCUBA tank, camera, diver's knee and untethered equipment created the greatest proportion of severe impacts to benthic taxa. As benthic percentage cover increased for Scleractinia, Echinodermata, Ascidiacea, Porifera, susceptibility and vulnerability to severe impacts also increased. Abrasions, breaks, compression and mucus release were common forms of impact. Risk assessment findings suggest that subtropical benthic taxa are highly susceptible to SCUBA diver impacts. Targeted risk reduction is required in future management strategies.
Health and economic benefits may accrue from marine and coastal recreation. In England, few national-level descriptive analyses exist which examine predictors of recreation in these environments. Data from seven waves (2009–2016) of a representative survey of the English population (n = 326,756) were analysed to investigate how many recreational visits were made annually to coastal environments in England, which activities were undertaken on these visits, and which demographic, motivational, temporal, and regional factors predict them. Inland environments are presented for comparison. Approximately 271 million recreational visits were made to coastal environments in England annually, the majority involving land-based activities such as walking. Separately, there were around 59 million instances of water-based recreation undertaken on recreational visits (e.g. swimming, water sports). Visits to the coast involving walking were undertaken by a wide spectrum of the population: compared to woodland walks, for instance, coastal walks were more likely to be made by females, older adults, and individuals from lower socioeconomic classifications, suggesting the coast may support reducing activity inequalities. Motivational and temporal variables showed distinct patterns between visits to coastal and inland comparator environments. Regional variations existed too with more visits to coastal environments made by people living in the south-west and north-east compared to London, where more visits were made to urban open spaces. The results provide a reference for current patterns of coastal recreation in England, and could be considered when making policy-level decisions with regard to coastal accessibility and marine plans. Implications for future public health and marine plans are discussed.
The aim of this study was to determine the recreational value of the three major coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific: Cabo Pulmo, Islas Marietas and Huatulco. 488 and 455 domestic and international tourists respectively were interviewed, and their socioeconomic profile and perception of the coral reef they visited were determined. Using the dichotomous choice contingent valuation method, a willingness to pay of US$ 5.79 for conservation activities was determined, as well as a net annual benefit from the reef of US$1.4 million. The results of the study show that the tourists are willing to pay a higher entrance fee than that established by the federal government. Therefore, if a new entrance fee policy is implemented for entering to marine national parks, the federal government could increase its limited budget for monitoring and research activities in these ecosystems.
The coastal zone in the Arctic is being extensively used for recreational activities. Simultaneously, there is an increasing pressure from commercial activities. We present results from a discrete choice experiment implemented in Arctic Norway, revealing how households in this region make trade-offs between recreational activities and commercial developments in the coastal zone. Our results show that, although people prefer stricter regulation of commercial activities, they welcome expansion in marine industries like aquaculture and marine fishing tourism. We also find evidence of high willingness-to-pay for new jobs; and this may partly explain the preferences for the commercial facilities in spite of the visual intrusion they create. On the other hand people expressed a clear dislike for littering of the beaches. Hence, the message to policy makers is to allow for commercial development in the coastal zone, but only under strict regulations, especially related to measures reducing the amount of marine debris.
Recreational beaches are strategic ecosystems for tourism and should be used in a sustainable manner. We studied three beaches in the municipality of Guaymas (NW Mexico), in order to assess their beach quality and identify key management issues. The evaluation was based on the perceptions of users concerning: (1) the user profile; (2) the recreational habits of users; and (3) the biophysical characteristics, infrastructure, services, and cleanliness of each beach. The results showed that the beaches were of different quality. The key management issues identified were the need to design and apply specific management programs for each beach, specifically in regards to improving infrastructure and services, and obtaining certification as a sustainable beach. The evaluation of the beaches as perceived by users suggests that it would be useful to assess beach quality in order to support management goals and be applicable to other beaches, both nationally and internationally.