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Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action

project R-6943

Title : Summer School: Tourism, ecosystems, planning and climate change: interdisciplinary methodological approaches Theme: measuring and managing the impact within protected areas (R-6943)
Abstract: During the last decades, on the one hand outdoor recreation has become progressively more important, especially in protected areas. On the other hand, biodiversity continues to decline by among others human induced stress (such as hiking, biking, etc.). Biodiversity plays a key role in ecological processes and the delivery of ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration (but also recreation). This stress might more specifically affect processes in soil, water and air. Hence, careful planning of infrastructure and architecture is strongly needed to steer (spatial) development of areas under pressure in a more sustainable direction. Moreover, the intrinsic value argument for biodiversity conservation in maintaining ecosystem services could be complemented for example by an economic component quantifying the importance of the ecological role of species in the ecosystem. Stakeholder participation and visitor management are very important in this process, in order to arrive at effective strategies that are actually implemented, whereas the legal framework - that directly and/or indirectly protects ecosystems and ecosystem services (legislation on nature, soil, water, air, environmental impact assesment, permitting, liability,...), but that unfortunately is very scattered over many laws - should be assessed for compliance and potential policy recommendations. The interplay between outdoor recreation, ecosystems and climate change can be looked at from different angles and various disciplines stress the importance of protecting ecosystems. Combining all the above through interdisciplinary research is a necessary condition for researchers and practitioners to develop (and implement) effective protected area conservation management strategies. Such strategies are much needed to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems, and to enhance their resilience to e.g. climate change for the benefit of future generations.
Period of project : 15/01/2016to31/12/2016