The role of tourism impacts on cultural ecosystem services

B. Derrick Taff, Jacob Benfield, Zachary D. Miller, Ashley D’antonio, Forrest Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Parks and protected areas are recognized for the important ecosystem services, or benefits, they provide society. One emerging but understudied component is the cultural ecosystem services that parks and protected areas provide. These cultural ecosystem services include a variety of benefits, such as cultural heritage, spiritual value, recreation opportunities, and human health and well-being. However, many of these services can only be provided if people visit these parks and protected areas through tourism opportunities. However, with this tourism use comes a variety of inevitable resource impacts. This current research connects potential impacts from tourism in parks and protected areas to the health and well-being aspect of cultural ecosystem services. We used an MTurk sample to record affective responses across a range of resource conditions. Results demonstrate that as tourism-related ecological impacts increased, positive affect decreased. Decreases in positive affect were more severe for park and protected area scenes featuring informal and/or undesignated social trails when compared to scenes with increasing levels of trampling/vegetation loss. Collectively, the results show that managing tourism in parks and protected areas in a manner that reduces impact is essential to providing beneficial cultural ecosystem services related to human health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43
JournalEnvironments - MDPI
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science


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