John Wilson

PhD Research Student

Supervisors:
Dr Nils Bunnefeld
Dr Bram van Moorter, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Dr Vegard Gundersen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Prof. Kirsty Park, University of Stirling

Start Date: 1st February 2017

3B155, Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

email: john.wilson1@stir.ac.uk

Research Project

Proactive Sustainable Tourism: strategies to ensure wildlife conservation and tourist satisfaction in national parks

The aim of this project is to contribute to decision making for national park management where human space-use impacts Norway’s wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).

Recent environmental commitments mean that Norway is currently considering alternatives to their oil based economy. Experiencing an outdoor life (friluftsliv) forms a strong part of the Norwegian cultural identity, thus increasing tourism to remote places has become a focus for replacing oil based revenue.

Since Norway is home to Europe’s last remaining wild reindeer population, it is important that the increasing human presence is managed in as sustainable a way as possible. A long tradition of reindeer hunting in Norway has created a strong avoidance of humans and human structures in reindeer.

This has resulted in the wild reindeer population becoming increasing fragmented, to the extent that there are now 23 isolated populations. In addition, human infrastructures, particularly roads, have made it increasingly difficult for many reindeer herds to journey to their calving areas.

Using data from 20,000 questionnaires I will aim to first develop an understanding of the environmental factors that are important for how tourists chose to interact with the landscape.

To do this, I shall create ‘purism profiles’ for tourists that indicate their space-use preferences. Based on these profiles, the temporal heterogeneity of tourist space-use will then be modelled.

This will then be used to analyse the spatial interactions between humans and reindeer to determine the impact on reindeer.

The outcome from my project would be to generate quantitative predictions about tourist-landscape-reindeer interactions for informing the development of sustainable tourism marketing strategies.

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