Evaluating Soil Compaction and Ground Cover Indicator Measures for Visitor Use Planning on Boston Harbor Islands

Kristin Meyer and Yu-Fai Leung
Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
North Carolina State University

Delivered at 2003 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.

As visitations to Boston Harbor Islands continue to increase, there is also a growing concern about degradation of natural resources due to visitor use. This issue is being addressed by the implementation of Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) framework, in which one essential step is evaluation and selection of resource indicators. In this poster two common ecological indicators, soil compaction and ground cover, and their specific measures were evaluated. In the summer and fall of 2002, six high-use and six low-use circular plots were established on Georges, Grape and Peddocks Islands. Within each plot 12 quadrants were randomly located along three transects. Two types of soil penetrometers were applied within same quadrants, while ground cover was estimated using three different measures, namely overall coverage rating, continuous line transects, and quadrants. Data were collected in June, August and October. Results, which will be highlighted in the poster, exhibit considerable variability in most of the indicator measures. While both indicators were not selected for VERP implementation, evaluation results do provide useful baseline information to this park area and insights for future research on visitor impacts.

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