Incorporating recreational suitability into multifunctional landscape management
The Ecosystem Services concept is commonly applied, in several variations, to try and model the various benefits humans obtain from the environment, and to assess possible future changes to them (Fisher at al., 2009). Under the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005), 'cultural services' include recreational use of ecosystems; access to the natural environment can have positive effects on physical and mental health (de Vries et al., 2003) and is widely supported by planners and decision-makers.
The requirement for rural recreation can be catered for in many ways, via the provision of facilities at levels varying from visitor centres and similar facilities to simple footpaths. The wider landscape also has an important bearing on recreation by contributing to the attractiveness of a destination or route, not only through simple aesthetic preference – which in truth is by no means simple (Ode et al., 2008) – but also for example by the opportunity to see certain wildlife or experience tranquillity.
This ongoing research examines landscape and other factors relating to the suitability of a rural area for recreational activity, using the example of a lowland river catchment in eastern England within which recreation and tourism are economically important. Assessment is carried out using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques. Beginning with the current situation, it then considers possible landscape changes under published future scenarios, assesses their effects on recreational suitability and consequent effects of recreation on the landscape, and discusses how these effects could be managed to maintain recreation alongside other functions in this area.
Is this item peer reviewed?
Date of publication
18 August 2011
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Has international co-authors?
For non-academic audience?
Conference event title
International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) world congress