Does Participation in Outdoor Activities Determine Residents’ Appreciation of Nature: A Case Study From the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Silva Larson, Marina Farr, Natalie Stoeckl, Adriana Chacon, Michelle Esparon

Abstract


Different people engage in different activities for different reasons. This paper contributes to literature examining participation in various outdoor activities and its association with perceived importance of environmental values. Using data from a survey of more than 1500 residents living adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) in Australia, we examine (1) residents’ participation and frequency of participation in a number of GBRWHA-related outdoor activities; (2) if a range of socio-economic characteristics played a role in determining participation in these activities; and (3) the linkages between participation in outdoor activities and a range of environmental values related to the GBRWHA. Going to the mainland beaches and swimming were reported as the most frequent activities. Males, residents with higher income, and those with the main household income from fishing and tourism industries, are more likely to participate in outdoor activities than others. There is a link between participation in activities and the perception of values. We found that occasional participation in an activity does not necessarily change perceptions of importance of the GBRWHA values. However, as frequency of participation increased, importance of some of the values also increased. Frequent participation in consumptive activities such as fishing was linked to higher appreciation of use values. However, with the non-consumptive uses, such as beach and island visitation, the association extends to a whole range of use and non-use values. Findings have implications for management as they indicate that frequent participants in outdoor recreation place higher importance on environmental values and may therefore stand as stronger environmental stewards than others.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v4n3p212

Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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