The National Marine Sanctuaries Visitor Counting Process: A Process to Inform Marine Protected Area Management & Community Development

West Virginia University
Publicado: 21 Abril 2020
Última edición: 22 Abril 2020
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Resumen

Through the National Marine Sanctuaries Visitor Counting Process (NMS-COUNT), marine protected area (MPA) resource managers gain valid and reliable data and methods to advance predictive capability and understanding of visitors. The NMS-COUNT process is an iterative framework that allows local management and stakeholders to add knowledge of visitor use at an NMS unit through each phase.
Building off the US Interagency Visitor Monitoring Framework, NMS-COUNT facilitates local input on visitation and communication with managers and researchers to develop and implement the most efficient methodology. Understanding visitor use can help MPA managers create better policies, leading to more satisfied visitors and healthier coastal ecosystems. Visitation data helps to efficiently maintain and manage local ecological, economic and social resources. NMS-COUNT helps resource managers adhere to limits of resilience within MPAs, leading to sustainable use and maintenance for future generations.

Classifications

Región
América del Norte
Escala de aplicación
Local
Subnacional
Ecosistema
Arrecifes coralinos
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Estuarios
Mar abierto
Playa
Tema
Gobernanza de áreas protegidas
Islas
Manejo espacial de la zona marino-costera
Medios de vida sostenibles
Planificación de la gestión de áreas protegidas
Servicios ecosistémicos
Turismo
Challenges
Lluvia errática
Inundaciones
Incremento de temperatura
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Acidificación de los océanos
Aumento del nivel del mar
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Contaminación (incluida la eutrofización y la basura)
Cacería furtiva
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Gestión ineficaz de los recursos financieros
Deficiente vigilancia y aplicación de la ley
Objectivos de Desarrollo Sostenible
ODS 3 - Salud y bienestar
ODS 6 - Agua limpia y saneamiento
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
Metas de Aichi
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 6: Gestión sostenible de los recursos vivos acuáticos
Meta 11: Las áreas protegidas
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento
Metas del marco de Sendai
Meta 6: Incrementar la cooperación hacia países en desarrollo a través de apoyo adecuado y sustentable a fin de complementar sus acciones
Enfoques para el compromiso empresarial
Indirecto a través del gobierno

Ubicación

Savannah, Georgia, United States of America | Florida Keys, United States of America
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Retos

Within the United States, over 172,481 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters are designated as U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. The NMS system consists of 14 marine protected areas and serves as a bridge to natural resource exploration, education, recreation, tourism, and many other ecosystem services. While various federal, state, and Coastal Treaty Tribe groups collaborate in the management of coastal and marine areas, there is little compatibility in methods for estimating visitation. Sanctuaries vary in size, may be located along shorelines or may lack a physical boundary when located offshore. This diversity of geographic locations results in unique challenges to counting visitors, especially when data collection must be cost-effective. Therefore, a blanket approach that does not incorporate site-specific details into sampling and estimating visitation would be unwise.

Beneficiarios

The NMS-COUNT process benefits natural resource managers in areas that do not afford traditional sampling of visitors. Beneficiaries also include visitors who use sanctuaries, and researchers who measure economic, ecological, and social impacts.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The NMS-COUNT process engages researchers, agency scientists and managers in an iterative process of four phases: 1) research and identification of visitor estimation methods applicable to a specific site, 2) expert panel to provide input on site-specific methods, use indicators (social, environmental, temporal, spatial intensity, etc.), and confidence levels, 3) development of a site-specific methodology and sampling plan, and 4) field testing and analysis.

In each phase, methods are analysed for confidence in producing visitor estimates that are efficient, valid, and reliable, and adapted via feedback throughout each successive iteration. Iterations between the three phases ultimately result in a scientific consensus on quantitative goals for measuring visitor use at an agreed upon level of confidence. While NMS-COUNT provides both value and technical input through its phases, the optimal use of the process will be context dependent and reliant on collaboration at the site and regional levels. A future goal is to apply NMS-COUNT across other marine protected areas and any area where tourism may be notably context dependent.  

Impactos positivos

The NMS-COUNT process provides value and technical input through its phases, the optimal use of the process will be context dependent and reliant on collaboration at the site and regional levels. A future goal is to apply NMS-COUNT across other marine protected areas and any area where tourism may be notably context dependent. Areas where estimation of visitation is not as simple as counting within a captive area (e.g. gate counts at a park) will benefit from the addition of NMS-COUNT steps to guide such computations. The process is designed to be used by both the academic community and resource managers, so the process can be replicated and extended over time. It also promotes management of aquatic protected areas in an adaptive framework, as expert panel stakeholders inform value and technical choices that are assessed through pilot studies and data analyses. The NMS-COUNT process helps understand the foundational visitor dynamics which lead to economic, social and environmental impacts within and surrounding MPAs.  Economic impacts are directly linked to visitor expenditures, while social and environmental impacts are linked to visitor experience and activity. A clear understanding of visitation through NMS-COUNT allows easier identification of these linkages among impacts.

Historia

Robert Burns

Protected area management sits along a delicate axis of conservation and accessibility. In one sense, protected areas are designated as such for a reason, they often contain natural beauty, vibrant ecosystems, and many other desirable features worthy of protection. It is because of these remarkable features that visitors have desire to experience such wonders. 

This level of interest and admiration helps develop the critical need and challenge of gaining knowledge concerning visitation. Tourism in protected areas can cause tension between conservation and use.  MPAs represent a special challenge relating to the common absence of visual and physical borders. Additionally, marine ecosystems, like coral reefs, can react sensitively to changes in environmental conditions, some of which may be modified by effects of visitation activities. The essential part of the NMS-COUNT story seeks to create robust understanding of visitation in challenging areas that allows the management of such areas to seek a proper balance between protection and use. 

The NMS-COUNT process offers a solution to numerous challenges within the story of MPAs, built upon the best available science and localized input. The NMS-COUNT process follows the Interagency Visitor Use Management Framework (IVUMF), which provides a unified, collaborative approach to develop strategies for providing access to recreation, while protecting resources and managing visitor use.  NMS-COUNT also follows the Drivers-Pressures-State-Ecosystem Services-Response (DPSER) model, which integrates human dimensions and biophysical information into a framework that illustrates the complex interactions of human dimensions with ecosystem services. These interactions are involved in management trade-offs between the state of the ecosystem and quality of ecosystem services, a crucial part of any MPA story.  The NMS-COUNT process engages academics, scientists and managers in an iterative process of four phases: 1 research and identification of visitor estimation methods applicable to a specific site, 2) expert panel to provide input on site-specific methods, use indicators (social, environmental, spatiotemporal, etc.), and confidence levels, 3) development of a site-specific methodology and sampling plan, and 4) field testing and analysis. Iterations and replication of the process provides a conceptual way of thinking and learning about tourism dynamics, even if application of the process is unique to individual sites.

Contribuido por

Robert Burns West Virginia University, School of Natural Resources

Contribuído por

West Virginia University
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
West Virginia University
West Virginia University
Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, UEPG