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Walking in Each Other’s Footsteps: Do Animal Trail Makers Confer Resilience against Trampling Tourists?

School of Biological Earth & Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Environments 2019, 6(7), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6070083
Received: 30 June 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 13 July 2019 / Published: 15 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact of Nature-Based Tourism)
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Abstract

Modern humans, and other hominins before them, have walked across the landscapes of most continents for many millennia. They shared these landscapes with other large animals, especially mammalian herbivores and their predators, whose footsteps defined trails through the vegetation. Most of the diversity in the wild species is now concentrated in protected areas and visited by large numbers of tourists who may walk amongst them. This review examines the literature about medium-large animal and tourist trampling impacts to uncover any marriage between animal ecology and nature-based tourism research. Methodology is comparable. Animal ecology has focused on the propagation of grazing and trampling effects from a point source (usually water). Tourism research has focused on trail structure (formal/informal, hardened, wide/narrow) and the propagation of effects (especially weeds) into the hinterland and along the trail. There is little research to substantiate an evolutionary view of trampling impacts. At least tourists venturing off formed trails may reduce impacts by following animal trails with caveats, such as risk of encounters with dangerous animals and disruption of animal behavior. This is an under-studied topic but a fertile ground for research, aided by modern tools like trail cameras and geographically enabled devices borne by tourists. View Full-Text
Keywords: trampling; nature-based tourism; animal ecology; animal trails; tourist trails; wildlife tourism trampling; nature-based tourism; animal ecology; animal trails; tourist trails; wildlife tourism
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Croft, D.B. Walking in Each Other’s Footsteps: Do Animal Trail Makers Confer Resilience against Trampling Tourists? Environments 2019, 6, 83.

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