Landscape and Urban Planning vol:71 issue:2-4 pages:311-321
Equilibrium has to be found between maximizing social profit and minimizing ecological disturbance in open (accessible) nature reserves. Because the probability of disturbance grows with increasing visit density and frequency, some nature reserves tend to lose their specific quality. The aim of this study, concentrated on the 'Demerbroeken', 45 km east of Brussels in central Belgium, is to estimate the probability of off-track visits in any location of the nature reserve at specific times and terrain conditions, by means of a GIS-based friction model. Research was based on a detailed land survey, interviews with visitors, performance of walking experiments and determination of friction values of specific terrain units. Data from interviews and walking experiments were collected to validate the model. The output from this study is of potential help to design an impact assessment and management tool. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.