Publications & Reviews

New study reveals wildlife tends to avoid places recently visited by recreational users

Relative effects of recreational activities on a temperate terrestrial wildlife assemblage
Robin Naidoo A. Cole Burton First published: 05 September 2020

Outdoor recreation is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world and provides many benefits to people. Assessing possible negative impacts of recreation is nevertheless important for sustainable management. Here, we used camera traps to assess relative effects of various recreational activities—as compared to each other and to environmental conditions—on a terrestrial wildlife assemblage in British Columbia, Canada. Across 13 species, only two negative associations between recreational activities and wildlife detections were observed at weekly scales: mountain biking on moose and grizzly bears. However, finer‐scale analysis showed that all species avoided humans on trails, with avoidance strongest for mountain biking and motorized vehicles. Our results imply that environmental factors generally shaped broad‐scale patterns of wildlife use, but highlight that recreational activities also have detectable impacts. These impacts can be monitored using the same camera‐trapping techniques that are commonly used to monitor wildlife assemblages.

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