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Public perceptions of wetlands and preferences for on-site visitor facilities and communication media: A case study from an Australian Ramsar wetland

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Wang, XY, Prahalad, V ORCID: 0000-0002-3547-616X and Kirkpatrick, JB ORCID: 0000-0003-2763-2692 2022 , 'Public perceptions of wetlands and preferences for on-site visitor facilities and communication media: A case study from an Australian Ramsar wetland' , Marine and Freshwater Research , pp. 1-17 , doi: 10.1071/MF22033.

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Abstract

There is wide recognition, championed by the Ramsar Convention, of the need to increase the public appreciation of wetlands and their conservation by providing meaningful experiences for visitors to Ramsar sites. In a case study of an Australian Ramsar site on the 50th anniversary of the treaty, we investigate the public's awareness of this internationally significant wetland and their understanding of wetland biota and ecosystem services. To inform future communication, education, participation and awareness (CEPA), we also investigate public preferences for particular wetland-related knowledge, on-site activities, facilities and communication media. Less than half of the 326 survey respondents expressed some familiarity with wetlands. Notably, they were not aware of the existence of the Ramsar site, despite having driven past and being within close proximity to the wetland at the time of surveying. Non-extractive and non-commodified recreational activities such as trail walking and photography were preferred over extractive uses such as fishing and duck hunting and activities such as boat cruises and guided tours. There was a high demand for on-site facilities such as walking tracks and viewing platforms and for communication through web-based sources. Visitation to further the goals of Ramsar CEPA could be encouraged through the resourcing of locally appropriate infrastructure, promotion of activities and better communication.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wang, XY and Prahalad, V and Kirkpatrick, JB
Keywords: ecotourism, environmental education, protected area management, Ramsar Convention, science communication, wetland management
Journal or Publication Title: Marine and Freshwater Research
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
ISSN: 1323-1650
DOI / ID Number: 10.1071/MF22033
Copyright Information:

Journal compilation copyright 2022 CSIRO Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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