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The digitalization of outdoor recreation : Global perspectives on the opportunities and challenges for protected area management

Title data

Mangold, Max ; Schwietering, Arne ; Zink, Julia ; Steinbauer, Manuel ; Heurich, Marco:
The digitalization of outdoor recreation : Global perspectives on the opportunities and challenges for protected area management.
In: Journal of Environmental Management. Vol. 352 (2024) . - 120108.
ISSN 1095-8630

Abstract in another language

The increasing popularity of digital media among protected area visitors poses challenges to protected area management. It alters the way visitors move and behave in the area, potentially increasing disturbance of nature, and it might also affect their expectation prior to the visit and their reflection on it. Simultaneously, digital media allow protected area managers to develop and implement new methods of digital visitor management (DVM). This may help to avoid conflicts and ensure compliance with rules and regulations and may have much further reaching positive consequences. Based on an online survey across 131 parks in 46 countries covering all continents, this study examined for the first time how protected areas view DVM. The results showed that the majority of park managers see digitalization as an opportunity, with 91% agreeing that it enables them to reach larger numbers of visitors and to provide real-time information. The advantage of integrating digital media into visitor monitoring was recognized. However, some park managers perceived digitalization as problematic, with 42% agreeing that it increases visitor load in sensitive areas and 40% agreeing that it leads to more off-trail activity. A clear majority of the respondents (61–91%) saw the proposed methods of DVM as effective or very effective. Accordingly, 70% of them envisioned using DVM in the future. Our findings suggest that the effects of digitalization in outdoor recreation are largely similar across the globe, with no significant influence of economic status or region. They offer insights into the potential of DVM for protected area management, but also its main obstacles. Adoption will be facilitated by increasing staff and funding for DVM. Additionally, knowledge exchange between protected areas can ease the successful implementation of new digital tools.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Visitor management; Protected area; Digitalization; Outdoor platforms; Social media
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Department of Sport Science > Professor Sport Ecology
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Bayreuth Center of Sport Science (BaySpo)
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 350 Public admininistration, military science
300 Social sciences > 370 Education
500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
700 Arts and recreation > 790 Sports, games, entertainment
900 History and geography > 910 Geography, travel
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2024 10:16
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2024 10:16