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Response of vegetation to recreational trampling damage in a global biodiversity hotspot: Indicative data from three National Parks

Mason, S, Newsome, D., Moore, S. and Admiraal, R. (2014) Response of vegetation to recreational trampling damage in a global biodiversity hotspot: Indicative data from three National Parks. In: XIII International Mediterranean Ecosystems Conference: Crossing Boundaries Across Disciplines and Scales, 6 - 9 October, Olmué, Chilie.

Abstract

Australian flora are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic change due to high levels of diversity and endemism with many species in Western Australia exhibiting small ranges with low numbers and restricted populations. Perhaps considered the least significant of a range of threatening process this work shows that recreational damage via trampling has the capacity to degrade a highly valued tourism resource. We provide data on the impacts of trampling within an international biodiversity hotspot. Using established methodologies we demonstrate that low levels of trampling cause significant damage and that the shrub-dominated communities of three National Parks have a low resistance to human trampling disturbance. Measurements taken at selected intervals over a 12-month period additionally indicate that the vegetation community has a low resilience to human trampling. Further work that can be undertaken in the future includes collecting recovery data following experimental trampling over a longer time frame (e.g. 5 years) and gauging the responses of individual species to trampling damage. Selected sites could also be monitored for the effectiveness of educational strategies and infrastructure placement.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/30887
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