Visitation in island parks: indicators as a tool for management
AbstractPark visitation has been increasing every year; however, the majority of the protected areas have no satisfactory and qualified administrative structure to control visitation, especially when island ecosystems are considered. The State Park of Ilhabela (PEIb) is a good example of this, and was therefore selected for this study, which hoped to identify indicators for better management of park visitation. In order to select indicators to be used as a reference for this purpose, this study employed the Bountîle – Base of observation for nautical and terrestrial purposes within islands - developed by French researchers for the National Park of Port-Cros, and complemented this with guidelines from the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and other authors. These led to the selection of the following indicators: a) opportunities of recreation for a diverse public; b) visitation security; c) satisfaction with the experience; d) minimal environmental impact; e) spinoff of socioeconomic development of the surrounding community. Based on the PEIb analyses, 20 management indicators were identified using the following criteria: uses and users; climatic conditions; well-being of the residents; security; profile of the visitor; well-being of the visitors; behavior of the visitors; certification, management, and institutional integration. The criteria of the indicators is greatly diversified, as it is believed that such diversity is essential to encompass the varied aspects that must be considered by a visitation management system in a conservation area. The indicators are flexible, and can be changed anytime, so that they will always be in harmony with the goals of the park management plan. In order to be efficient, they should be feasible economically, technically, and operationally. It is essential that indicators and protocols be discussed and tested with park workers and local actors, ensuring active management and continuous monitoring.
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