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Understanding and managing the interactions of impacts from nature-based recreation and climate change

Abstract

Disturbance to ecosystems in parks and protected areas from nature-based tourism and recreation is increasing in scale and severity, as are the impacts of climate change—but there is limited research examining the degree to which these anthropogenic disturbances interact. In this perspective paper, we draw on the available literature to expose complex recreation and climate interactions that may alter ecosystems of high conservation value such that important species and processes no longer persist. Our emphasis is on ecosystems in high demand for tourism and recreation that also are increasingly experiencing stress from climate change. We discuss the importance of developing predictive models of direct and indirect effects, including threshold and legacy effects at different levels of biological organization. We present a conceptual model of these interactions to initiate a dialog among researchers and managers so that new research approaches and managerial frameworks are advanced to address this emerging issue.

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Acknowledgements

The work of Christopher Monz was supported by the CONNECT Project (National Science Foundation award # 1534006; Belmont Forum). The work of Vera Hausner was financed by CONNECT (Belmont Forum, Arctic CRA I) and BlueTrans (Norwegian Research Council). Kevin Gutzwiller thanks Baylor University for supporting this research. Work by Mark Brunson was supported by the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Monz, C.A., Gutzwiller, K.J., Hausner, V.H. et al. Understanding and managing the interactions of impacts from nature-based recreation and climate change. Ambio 50, 631–643 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01403-y

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Nature-based tourism
  • Park and protected area management
  • Recreation ecology