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Walk on the wild side: estimating the global magnitude of visits to protected areas.


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Type

Article

Change log

Authors

Green, Jonathan MH 
Anderson, Michael 
Beresford, James 
Huang, Charles 

Abstract

How often do people visit the world's protected areas (PAs)? Despite PAs covering one-eighth of the land and being a major focus of nature-based recreation and tourism, we don't know. To address this, we compiled a globally-representative database of visits to PAs and built region-specific models predicting visit rates from PA size, local population size, remoteness, natural attractiveness, and national income. Applying these models to all but the very smallest of the world's terrestrial PAs suggests that together they receive roughly 8 billion (8 x 109) visits/y-of which more than 80% are in Europe and North America. Linking our region-specific visit estimates to valuation studies indicates that these visits generate approximately US $600 billion/y in direct in-country expenditure and US $250 billion/y in consumer surplus. These figures dwarf current, typically inadequate spending on conserving PAs. Thus, even without considering the many other ecosystem services that PAs provide to people, our findings underscore calls for greatly increased investment in their conservation.

Description

Keywords

Conservation of Natural Resources, Ecosystem, Europe, Humans, Models, Statistical, North America, Recreation, Travel

Journal Title

PLoS Biol

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1544-9173
1545-7885

Volume Title

13

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Sponsorship
This study was supported by The Natural Capital Project (http://www.naturalcapitalproject.org/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.