University of Oulu

Recreation and tourism induced changes in northern boreal environments

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Author: Kangas, Katja1,2,3
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
2University of Oulu, Thule Institute
3University of Oulu, Oulanka Research Station
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2009
Publish Date: 2009-10-27
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on 6 November 2009, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Doctor David Cole
Docent Jukka Jokimäki


The popularity of nature-based tourism has increased worldwide and peripheral areas with conservational value, like protected areas, are attractive destinations. The recreational use and construction of tourism facilities can cause environmental degradation and decrease the conservational and recreational value of areas if not well planned and managed. The aim of this thesis was to improve our knowledge of recreation and tourism induced changes in northern boreal environments. Direct and indirect impacts of recreation on vegetation and birds in protected areas were examined. Furthermore, the environmental impacts of ski resorts in terms of changes in vegetation and soil, threats from non-native species and water pollution were investigated.

In protected areas, the size of the disturbed areas around campsites was found to be mainly determined by the distance between the main tourism facilities (wilderness hut and campfire-site), and the mountain biotopes were more sensitive to disturbance than forests. Recreational use had induced changes also in the bird community. The occurrence and the composition of birds were affected, and the open nesters nesting on the ground were found to be the most sensitive.

The construction, revegetation and management practices of ski runs had increased the nutrient concentrations, pH and conductivity of the soil, and changed the original vegetation notably. Non-native seed mixture species, used in revegetating the ski runs, were found to be favoured by management practices (disturbance and peat addition) in an experimental study, but, eventually, were not able to be established themselves into study plots. Ski resorts’ construction and management have also affected the water quality. Concentrations of nutrients were higher in ski resort lakes in relation to reference lakes and were comparable to lakes polluted by agriculture and forestry.

The results of this theses give new information on tourism and recreation induced changes and are applicable for planning and management. Nature-based tourism and recreation can cause long-term changes in terrestrial and aquatic environments, which should be considered at all levels of planning and management. For sustainable tourism development, it is essential that impacts are regularly monitored and preventative means are developed and used to minimize environmental degradation.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-9279-8
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-9278-1
Issue: 538
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2009. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.