Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 156–166 | Cite as

Simulating the saturation threshold of a water environment’s response to tourist activities: A case study in the Liupan mountain eco-tourism area

  • Mei-feng Zhao
  • Jian-chao XiEmail author
  • Sheng-he Liu


The effect of tourism on water environments has received a high degree of interest in the study of eco-tourism. Based on the analysis of the relationship between tourist activities and the water environment in the Liupan Mountain eco-tourism zone, the case study area, a Water Environment of Tourism Area Model (WETAM) is built to simulate the temporal and spatial changes in water quality and the response saturation thresholds under four sewage treatment scenarios. The results imply the following: (1) WETAM performs well in modeling a water environment to represent the dynamic process of water quality change in response to tourist activities. (2) Under four sewage treatment scenarios (fundamental, low, medium, and high), the threshold shows an obvious uptrend. (3) The response threshold of water quality with respect to the interference of tourist activities fluctuates seasonally due to changes in tourist density. (4) The thresholds differ significantly among five tourism functional areas. According to the response saturation threshold of the water environment, effective control based on the scale and intensity of tourist activities is important for a successful transformation of this tourism destination’s development strategies. Therefore, the integrated management of water pollution in tourism areas plays a crucial role in sustainable tourism development.


Tourism area Water environment Model simulation Response threshold Tourist accommodation Liupan Mountain 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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