Recreational activities on, in, and along freshwaters (e.g., boating, bathing, angling) positively contribute to human well-being but can also concurrently stress aquatic ecosystems. While outdoor recreation, aquatic ecosystems, and human well-being form coupled social-ecological systems, inherent fluxes and interactions between these have rarely been properly quantified. This paper synthesizes information on links between water-based recreational activities, effects on freshwater ecosystems integrity and recreational quality, and proposes a novel framework for assessment and integrated management. This framework is based on understanding relationships between recreational quality, demand and use, and recreational use-induced impacts on ecosystem state and function, as well as ecological and social carrying capacities. Current management approaches of freshwater ecosystems addressing economic, environmental, or recreational aspects are poorly linked and harmonized, and are further constrained by inadequate information on the dynamics and densities of recreational uses. Novel assessment and monitoring methods are needed to capture the short-term peak dynamics of water-based recreational uses, and we argue social media could play an increasingly important role here. An integrative recreation ecology management concept combined with peak usage information has great potential to form the basis for next-generation management approaches of freshwater and other ecosystems.
The underestimated dynamics and impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems
Venohr, M., Langhans, S. D., Peters, O., Hölker, F., Arlinghaus, R., Mitchell, L., & Wolter, C. (2018). The underestimated dynamics and impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems. Environmental Reviews, 26, 199–213
Erschienen in: Environmental Reviews, 26, 199–213