reference : Protected area tourism in a changing climate: Will visitation at US national parks warm up or overheat?

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Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract Climate change will affect not only natural and cultural resources within protected areas but also tourism and visitation patterns. The U.S. National Park Service systematically collects data regarding its 270+ million annual recreation visits, and therefore provides an opportunity to examine how human visitation may respond to climate change from the tropics to the polar regions. To assess the relationship between climate and park visitation, we evaluated historical monthly mean air temperature and visitation data (1979–2013) at 340 parks and projected potential future visitation (2041–2060) based on two warming-climate scenarios and two visitation-growth scenarios. For the entire park system a third-order polynomial temperature model explained 69% of the variation in historical visitation trends. Visitation generally increased with increasing average monthly temperature, but decreased strongly with temperatures > 25°C. Linear to polynomial monthly temperature models also explained historical visitation at individual parks (R2 0.12-0.99, mean = 0.79, median = 0.87). Future visitation at almost all parks (95%) may change based on historical temperature, historical visitation, and future temperature projections. Warming-mediated increases in potential visitation are projected for most months in most parks (67–77% of months; range across future scenarios), resulting in future increases in total annual visits across the park system (8–23%) and expansion of the visitation season at individual parks (13–31 days). Although very warm months at some parks may see decreases in future visitation, this potential change represents a relatively small proportion of visitation across the national park system. A changing climate is likely to have cascading and complex effects on protected area visitation, management, and local economies. Results suggest that protected areas and neighboring communities that develop adaptation strategies for these changes may be able to both capitalize on opportunities and minimize detriment related to changing visitation.
Author Fisichelli, Nicholas A.; Schuurman, Gregor W.; Monahan, William B.; Ziesler, Pamela S.
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0128226
Issue 6
Journal PLOS ONE
Pages e0128226
Publisher Public Library of Science
Title Protected area tourism in a changing climate: Will visitation at US national parks warm up or overheat?
Volume 10
Year 2015
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 24669
_uuid 4ed1b0b7-c44f-454e-b1cd-fb33041e1026