Visitor monitoring and management in protected and recreational areas: new challenges, novel solutions for the Anthropocene
Visitor management of protected and recreational areas in the Anthropocene
Loved by many, practised by even more. Recreation in the outdoors provides large benefits to individuals and societies, but with increased participation also follows challenges with sustainable management of nature areas. VIMAS’ primary objective is to develop more efficient governance of nature areas for tourism and recreation, in the best way possible for biodiversity, people’s quality of life and business development. This will be achieved through research about smarter monitoring methods, improved visitor management and more inclusive governance. Recreation in the outdoors has transformed in several ways; besides the increase in volume of visitors, the behaviour of visitors has diversified; visitors partake in a wider set of activities, visit more remote places, take more diversified trips in nature, have different motivations for visitation as well as levels of experience and skills. New monitoring and management tools honed for the Anthropocene must address the cumulative social and ecological impacts from increased tourism and recreation while striking a balance with ethics, privacy, and equal opportunities. To do this successfully, VIMAS focuses on novel monitoring techniques based on digital data developed and tested in the Nordic-Baltic region to address the contemporary challenges of increased demand, socio-economic inequality, and uncertain climate futures. The innovations of VIMAS are to realise potential from new knowledge developed in the intersection between quantitative and qualitative social sciences, ecology, and geo-informatics technology based on inclusive approaches for non-agency stakeholders and citizens. Through this, VIMAS will develop new, effective evidence-based tools towards smart governance and planning for recreational and protected natural areas for the next generation, optimising the delivery of public health, community well-being, business success as well as other ecosystem services while protecting environmental values.