5 Carrying capacity: The central idea is that environmental factors set limits on the population that an area can sustain. When these limits are exceeded, the quality of the environment suffers and ultimately its ability to support that population. carrying capacity has also been applied to land use planning and growth management and other aspects of human activity and the definition of carrying capacity has been extended to include the many variables inherent in man-made systems.
6 Types of Carrying capacity Shelby and herberlien subdivided carrying capacity as follows: Ecological capacity (ecosystem parameters): to quantify the type and degree of disturbance that an animal community is receiving from visitors. Social capacity (experience parameters): host social carrying capacity is the level beyond which unacceptable change will be caused to local cultural stability and attitudes towards tourists
7 Types of Carrying capacity (continued) Facility capacity (development parameters): accommodation carrying capacity is fixed by bed space and transport carrying capacity by the number of passengers who can be transported Physical capacity (space parameters): is the level beyond which visitor satisfaction drops as a result of overcrowding.
8 Definitions of Carrying capacity Definitions of carrying capacity for tourism is: “The maximum level of visitor use and an area can accommodate with high levels of satisfaction for visitors and few negative impacts on resources”. The maximum sustainable capacity of an area will determine the placement of geographically separated access points and tourists facilities to avoid excessive contacts between different groups visiting the park at the same time.
9 Factors determining ecological carrying capacities In order to determine environmental factors it is necessary to take note of the following: Size of the area: some areas may be inaccessible and therefore not usable Fragility of environment: the fragility of soils varies widely, with loose sand being the most vulnerable.
10 Factors determining ecological carrying capacities (continued) Wildlife resources topography and vegetation cover: wildlife resources will vary in distribution and diversity according to the season of the year. Topographic factors also affect capacity as thick bushes can conceal both animals and people, whereas visitor concentration is much more noticeable on open savannah. Behavioral sensitivity of certain species to human visits: some species are especially vulnerable to the presence of visitors.
11 Factors determining social carrying capacities A further list of variables exists which determine social carrying capacities and include: Viewing patterns: visitors are never evenly distributed across an area. Studies of Amboseli suggested that the majority of visitors use a small percentage of the area at specific times of the day.
12 Factors determining social carrying capacities (continued) Tourists' viewing choices: these are determined not only by the availability of species but also the tourists' interest. The main attractions for tourists are mating, dying, feeding and hunting Visitors' opinions: views on present crowding can be obtained from surveys. They can also be utilized to improve the provision of information and interpretation facilities. Available facilities: can be obtained from other quantifiable variables such as available bed spaces.
13 Management Implementation of Carrying Capacity Carrying capacity can be used as a tool for management planning and avoidance of animal disturbance. There are various types of impact, among them human impact. An example of this will be where the presence of a certain number of hikers leads to a certain degree of soil compaction Determining carrying capacity ultimately requires the consideration of human values. Because of the subjectivity of the values, it is essential that managers carry on an active dialogue with a variety of publics.