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Title: Recreational impact in Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve, Wester Ross
Author: McQuaid-Cook, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0001 3389 2939
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1979
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This thesis describes and interprets the effects of recreational trampling in Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve in the Western Highlands of Scotland. Intensive recreational use of view points, picnic areas and trails has created conditions of excessive soil compaction, damage to vegetation and accelerated erosion. From seasonal measurements of trail microtopography, it was determined that trampling reduces and removes vegetation cover and initiates the processes of advanced gully development, leaving deepened trail trenches on slopes. On level sites, soil compaction levels are increased, but the lack of gradient reduces the effects of rain wash and mass movement. Once recreational trampling has created conditions conducive to accelerated change, either by natural or human processes, an on-going cycle continues until a measure of stabilisation is achieved, which may not, however, be consistent with the continuing recreational use of the area. Soil compaction and biomass reduction were prevalent at trail heads, cairn sites and picnic areas, becoming less so with increased distance away from congregation points. Examination of the effects of trampling throughout the trail system revealed that the degree of damage is dependent upon site gradient and soil moisture content. Damage was greatest on those sites which were both steep and wet. Seasonal changes in site characteristics showed that heavy summer recreational trampling produced greater environmental change than natural processes of rainfall and mass movement during the winter months. This study identifies a number of constraints which might be considered in the design of future recreational areas in comparable situations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available