Outdoor Recreation Negatively Impacts Wildlife In Protected Areas

Posted: Dec 19 2016, 9:33am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Outdoor Recreation Negatively Impacts Wildlife in Protected Areas
Devil's Backbone Open Space in Loveland, Colo., is popular with mountain bikers. Photo Credit: Sara Bombaci/Colorado State University

Wrong Impact of Outdoor Recreation on wildlife

Most people love to explore nature through different activities. But, recently a study is done on outdoor recreational activities in protected areas that show that it’s affecting the wildlife, and the affect is negative. The study led by Colorado State University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Outdoor activity like hiking can affect wildlife that leave their place and stop feeding that’s good for health. Outdoor recreation is allowed in more than 90 percent of natural land, like parks etc. According to an estimate, around 8 billion visitors show up in parks for recreation that’s affecting the wildlife.

There is a variety of protected areas, including parks, community centers, wilderness areas, private and nature reserved areas. People often find protected areas good for recreational activities and think theyare compatible with conservation, stated Courtney Larson, lead author of the study and a graduate student in CSU's Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. He also said that our studies on wildlife and their natural habitats show a different thing.

The study involved reviews from 274 articles which were published between 1981 and 2015. The articles were about effects of recreational activities on wildlife species. The research team discovered negative effects of recreational activities on wildlife from these articles.

Another discovery was strange, that hiking affected the wildlife more than motorized activities. But, motorized activities can cause soil loss and vegetables loss, said Larson.

Following negative impacts were found by the research team.

Wildlife’s diversity reduced.

The activities reduced the reproduction in species, and also affected their survival.

The recreational activities psychologically affected wildlife causing stress and decreased foraging.

These negative impacts were more on reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians. The activities had positive effects only on birds like crows, and also mammals.

Unluckily, the bad effects of outdoor activities are increasing, because visitation rate is increasing in protected areas, stated Sarah Reed, Wildlife Conservation Society associate conservation scientist and a study co-author. She also said that results are yet unable to give any solution to reduce such impacts.

Lots of research about impact of outdoor activities on wildlife is still required, said by Co-author, and CSU Professor Kevin Crooks in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology.

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