Deakin University
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Evidence-based management to regulate the impact of tourism at a key marine turtle rookery on Zakynthos Island, Greece

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-10-01, 00:00 authored by K A Katselidis, Gail Schofield, G Stamou, P Dimopoulos, J D Pantis
This study evaluates how key beach features influence suitability for nesting by Endangered loggerhead marine turtles Caretta caretta at an internationally important rookery on Zakynthos Island, Greece. During 2007-2009 we assimilated information on beach structure (elevation above sea level and width), the distribution of all nesting (turtle tracks that resulted in nests) and non-nesting (turtle tracks that did not result in nests) turtle emergences from the sea along 6 km of beach, nest placement parameters (distance from sea and elevation above sea level), and beach use by visitors. We found that turtles preferentially emerged on steeper sections of beach, with higher nesting densities occurring on the most environmentally stable beaches. Elevation was a more reliable indicator of nest placement (1 m above sea level) than distance to shore. However, because nests on steeper slopes are located closer to shore, the risk of damage by tourism is increased in such areas. We calculated a potential 36% overlap of natural nest locations with use of the beach by tourists; however, the recorded overlap was 7% because of existing management protocols. This overlap could be further reduced by focusing conservation effort (i.e. further restricting use by people) on beach sections with the steepest inclines. For example, slopes of > 22° comprise 1 km of total beach area annually, the closure of which (above the immediate shoreline to allow passage) would completely protect 50% of nests. This study shows the value of evidence-based management as a practical scientific tool to conserve threatened species in dynamic protected areas that are of both environmental and economic importance. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.









584 - 594


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, United Kingdom







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Fauna & Flora International