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Sand pads : a promising technique to quantify human visitation into nature conservation areas

Weston, Michael A., Antos, Mark J. and Tzaros, Chris L. 2009, Sand pads : a promising technique to quantify human visitation into nature conservation areas, Landscape and urban planning, vol. 89, no. 3-4, pp. 98-104, doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2008.10.009.

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Title Sand pads : a promising technique to quantify human visitation into nature conservation areas
Author(s) Weston, Michael A.ORCID iD for Weston, Michael A. orcid.org/0000-0002-8717-0410
Antos, Mark J.
Tzaros, Chris L.
Journal name Landscape and urban planning
Volume number 89
Issue number 3-4
Start page 98
End page 104
Total pages 7
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publication date 2009-02-15
ISSN 0169-2046
1872-6062
Keyword(s) visitation
intrusion
detection
reserve
recreation
Summary In many places the expansion of urban areas has brought recreationists into close proximity to nature conservation areas, sometimes leading to conflict where recreation and sensitive environmental or natural values are incompatible. An important first step in managing these conflicts is to assess the degree and nature of the problem. We describe the application, and methodological considerations, associated with the use of an innovative, low-cost, practical technique to monitor human intrusions into a wetland reserve which has been designated as ‘off-limits’ to the general public. The use of seven frequently monitored sand pads over 13 weeks enabled us to determine that intrusions occurred in every week (3–14 per sand pad), deep inside the reserve during most weeks, and also identified the key access points. Most intrusions occurred during holiday periods and were by walkers or cyclists. We also conducted a series of simple experiments to examine the utility of sand pads. Our sand pads maintained their shape well and held footprints for over 1 month, they were rarely avoided by people and provided reliable indices of the level of human activity. Sand hardness varied with rainfall, and hardened sand was frequent (53.8% of 26 days) and potentially prevented detection of people. We conclude that the sand pad technique is an effective and efficient tool to measure recreational use of off-limits areas and other conservation and recreation areas, provided human traffic is not too intense, and that checks are made reasonably frequently.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2008.10.009
Field of Research 120504 Land Use and Environmental Planning
Socio Economic Objective 961304 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Coastal and Estuarine Environments
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Elsevier B.V
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30022594

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