and impacts to protected areas from visitation include those to entire ecosystems (e.g. coastal ecosystems
), soil, water
, geology, vegetation
, air and wildlife
(see Protected Area Management
Understanding visitors and visitor behaviours is a fundamental component of effective impact management. Many park visitors are first time visitors and so education and information
and strategic communication
are important tools for eliciting appropriate behaviours.
In recent years visitor impact research in Australia has moved from studies of individual sites and their management challenges to a broader view and systematic management requirements. New science and tools, such as the Tourism Pressure Index
, can give early an warning that management actions are needed and offer more systematic and forward thinking views of park visitation and associated impacts.
Australian research, particularly by the STCRC, has focussed on high impact activities such as 'horse riding'
, 'mountain biking'
, 'off road vehicles'
and 'rock climbing'
. Other activities such as 'hiking'
, skiing, rafting and kayaking, sailing and boating, fishing and swimming
have also been analysed for their environmental impacts.