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Current practices for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on visitor use of Australian protected areas: a review and recommendations for the future

Higginbottom, K., Rodger, K., Moore, S., Douglass, S., Hall, D. and Narayanan, Y. (2009) Current practices for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on visitor use of Australian protected areas: a review and recommendations for the future. In: Australian Protected Area Congress: Protected Areas in the Century of Change, 24 - 28 November, 2008, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

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    Abstract

    The need for improved monitoring and evaluation systems for protected areas is increasingly recognised. One important component of this need relates to visitor use of protected areas, such as numbers of visitors, adequacy of visitor facilities, impacts of visitors on natural heritage, social impacts on neighbouring communities, economic benefits and costs, visitor safety and visitor satisfaction. This paper reviews current practices, needs, barriers and opportunities for Australian protected area agencies with respect to monitoring, evaluating and reporting on visitor use and makes recommendations for future approaches to enhance effectiveness. The study used documentation review and semi-structured interviews to describe current practices and elicit opinions from agency staff.

    The review found that most Australian protected area agencies are currently in the process of developing more systematic and comprehensive approaches to monitoring and evaluation, including with respect to visitor use. Data obtained from visitor monitoring were generally seen by interviewees as providing useful information. While monitoring efforts are substantially constrained by available resources, there appear to be opportunities for more effective practices through further development of suitable cost effective indicators and monitoring protocols, increased adoption of appropriate best practice approaches to evaluation, greater coordination within agencies, and, in some cases, common methods across agencies.

    Publication Type: Conference Paper
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: Australian Protected Areas Congress
    Notes: APAC08 Proceedings – Australian Protected Areas Congress, Protected areas in the century of change, p. 223 - 225. Published 2009.
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/2866
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