Mossman Gorge And Cow Bay Field Art Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A practical appreciation of some tropical rainforest conservation issues was gained through the examination of the Mossman Gorge recreational site, the adjacent Aboriginal community, and the Cow Bay region. These sites were examined using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Pressure-State-Response reporting model in which observations were recorded in proformas and visually captured using photography. There are a number of pressures on tropical rainforest systems, which are both natural and human induced and affect the state of the environment. Responses to these pressures can be in the form of long and short term measures, however, there are many factors which need to be considered before implementing such measures, for example pressures that may result from the response action. Management and conservation of tropical rainforests is challenging, with numerous stakeholders involved. Nevertheless, to continue to protect these highly diverse areas, they need to be managed effectively, monitored regularly, and the response mechanisms re-evaluated frequently.

(N.B. All photographs, unless noted otherwise, have been taken by the author of this paper).

Mossman Gorge

Recreational Activity in Tropical Rainforest and Indigenous Concerns

Introduction

General Overview

Nature-based tourism is a rapidly growing tourism segment within the global tourism industry, and is of particular significance within Tropical North Queensland (Hill & Gale, 2009). The majority of this tourism occurs within fragile, sensitive and protected environments, which raises concerns about the impacts that tourism has on these environments (Hill & Gale, 2009). Negative impacts from these activities occur and need to be addressed (Kimmel, 1999). There is a need to plan and regulate recreational activities within rainforests to prevent such potential negative impacts (Kimmel, 1999). The direct and indirect negative impacts of recreation and tourism can include: clearing of vegetation for infrastructure, damage from trampling, the spread of exotic weeds along walking tracks and roads, the spread of diseases, such as Phytopthora cinnamomiand many other impacts (Pickering & Hill, 2007). However, recreational activities associated with tourism can also allow people to learn and be educated about environmental principles which can heighten their awareness of and commitment to environmental protection (Kimmel, 1999).

There are a number of Indigenous cultural and management concerns related to recreational activity in tropical rainforests. Indigenous people are traditional custodians of the land, and thus have a right to be included in the management of recreational sites within their area (Hill, Baird, & Buchanan, 1999). Their areas are of great cultural and heritage significance and deserve respect that is not usually introduced or present with development and tourism (Bentrupperbäumer, & Reser, 2000). Indigenous communities located near tourist sites can suffer from a lack of privacy and respect, cultural commodification, trespass, displacement and a whole host of other issues (Bentrupperbäumer, & Reser, 2000). Concerns also encompass: negative environmental impacts as a result of tourism and tourists on the land, destruction or alteration of story places and sacred sites, and issues regarding stealing/touching and defacing of nature and artefacts (Hill, Baird, & Buchanan, 1999).

Site Location and Description

The Mossman Gorge recreational site and adjacent Aboriginal community were the site locations for this study area.

The Aboriginal Community of the Kuku Yalanji people, Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku, is located adjacent to the Mossman Gorge recreational site, west of Mossman (Bentrupperbäumer, & Reser, 2000). Access to the recreational site is by means of a road through the Aboriginal community (Bentrupperbäumer, & Reser, 2000). The community, which started in the 1960's when the Daintree Mission closed, has approximately 170 residents. Tourism is utilized as a source of income for the community.

The Mossman Gorge recreational site is located in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) within the Daintree National Park (Murphy, & Harding, 2008). It has been designed for day use. There is a car park and picnic area, along with a toilet block and bicycle rack. Fires, camping and fishing are prohibited activities. No rubbish bins or barbeques are provided. There are a total of 25 designated parking spaces, with parking occurring elsewhere as well, and 7 picnic tables are provided. Mossman River flows beside the site, and the site itself is surrounded by lowland tropical rainforest (Murphy, & Harding, 2008). Figure 1 shows a map of this area. This area has approximately 500,000 visitors on an annual basis (Bentrupperbäumer, & Reser, 2000).

Data Presentation

Methods

The OECD Pressure State Response model and its accompanying framework are tools used to communicate information regarding the state of the environment, pressures acting upon it and response measures that can be taken (Figure 2) (OECD, 2000). This model was used to develop proformas in which data could then be collected systematically. Behavioural observations of wildlife and humans were undertaken as well as systematic observational recordings of the built and natural environs to assess the site; these were recorded in the proformas. Key indicators were developed and used for recording the state of the natural, built and human environs. Pressures that degraded the state of these environs were then identified and recorded in the proformas. Response measures already in place were then identified and additional responses considered and recorded in the proformas. Additional key note taking was also used to collect data, along with photography to record site conditions.

Data was collected at the Mossman Gorge recreational site and at the Indigenous Community on the 27th of April 2010. The weather was overcast with rain. Mossman Gorge recreational site was visited from 9:30-10:00am and from 11:30-1:00pm. The Indigenous Community was visited from 10:00-11:30am.

Results

The results are summarised in the following figures, photos and tables.

Discussion

State/Condition

In general, the natural environment was in good condition. Being within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and Daintree National Park, the site has been handled by environmental management agencies. There was not a large diversity of wildlife witnessed at the site. This absence of wildlife was most likely due to the weather conditions and time constraints of when the study was conducted. The wildlife that did appear was mainly in the form of insects and bush turkeys. The bush turkeys were habituated to humans, were aggressive towards each other when scavenging, and one had an injured leg. The vegetation seemed to have been mainly in the form of healthy primary low land rainforest. There was some invasion of exotic weed species at the edge of the road, edges of the recreational area, and within the garden. The yellowing of leaves on a small number of trees indicated their possible unhealthy state. The soil appeared to be somewhat degraded in the main area of the recreational site and particularly around the edge boundaries. Erosion and compaction of soil were occurring. The water seemed to be in good condition, with excellent flow, and the water was clear, however there did appear to be some form of algae/moss/fungi on the partially and fully submerged rocks. The air was not in particularly good condition as there was odourand noise pollution present. Areas within this site most at risk to degradation include the edge boundaries between the natural environment and the built, that is: on the edge of the road, the area surrounding the picnic/grass area and surrounding the toilet block.

The built environment could be separated into three distinct ‘state' areas. The road and car park area were not in good condition. The picnic tables, signs and paths were in fairly good condition. The remaining built environment was in satisfactory condition, such as the cigarette bins which needed cleaning and emptying, and the garden, which suffered from soil and mulch loss, as well as some weeds, and wood rot/mould.

Generally, the human environment was not in good condition. Historical and traditional uses of the area were not appearing to be undertaken, there was crowding of people, large numbers of vehicles and perceptible noise and odour pollution. The Traditional Owners also felt displaced, a loss of sense and belonging, and uncomfortable in the recreational area.

Pressures

There are numerous management and conservation pressures at the Mossman Gorge recreation site. The main environmental pressures include pollution, human activities and clearing and fragmentation. Pollution from vehicles and people caused the degradation of the natural environment and lowered visitor satisfaction. Human activities such as chasing and feeding animals, compaction of soil and the touching or mutilation of vegetation place pressure on the natural environment. Clearing can cause loss of primary rainforest, secondary regrowth, affects soil and cause fragmentation. Fragmentation results in linear barriers and edge effects, impacting vegetation and wildlife. Climate change is a long term pressure to the natural environment which may also produce social and cultural issues. The main built pressures include poor design and layout of the area, not enough of some facilities, as well as excessive use of some facilities. Poor design and layout of the area includes the toilets isolated from the walking tracks but close to Mossman River and the picnic tables very close to primary rainforest. This could cause pressure through increased contact of visitors with the natural environment (erosion, compaction, chasing of wildlife and handling of vegetation), possible pollution from the toilet block into the river, and reduced visitor satisfaction. There are insufficient facilities such as car parks, signs, tables and seats, as well as toilets which can cause pressure on the infrastructure and decrease visitor satisfaction. Excessive use of facilities includes the road and car parks which cause damage to the infrastructure and environment, particularly through erosion. The main human pressures include excessive visitor numbers, distribution and poor use patterns and behaviours. Excessive visitor numbers and clumped distribution of visitors, such as on walking tracks, causes damage to the natural environment through compaction of soil, more human handling of vegetation, reduction in visitor satisfaction and an increase in the likelihood of infrastructure damage. Poor use patterns of visitors also can cause damage to the environment, infrastructure and a decrease in visitor satisfaction. Visitor behaviour pressures can cause cultural issues regarding disrespect, abusive language and racism towards the Indigenous people. All of these pressures affect the natural environment, the infrastructure, and produce social and cultural issues.

Responses

Short Term Management Strategies

Education through the installation of more effective signs with pictorial diagrams and warnings of prohibited activities in different languages could be utilized. Leaflets in different languages or possibly even introducing a Ranger on site during peak visitor times/seasons may also succeed in educating the visitors about negative impacts on the environment and may also reduce disrespect and bad behaviour towards the Indigenous people. Decreasing the pressures from clearing and fragmentation could be accomplished through introducing buffer zones and wildlife corridors, substantially connecting tree canopies across the road and walking tracks and possibly even building elevated board walks. Involvement of Traditional Indigenous Owners in the management of the recreational site and the education of visitors could reduce cultural and social pressures as the tourists may gain cultural insight and respect for the Indigenous people. The implementation of drainage may reduce soil erosion which, in turn, may relieve some pressure on vegetation. Redesigning the area by moving the picnic tables away from the immediate rainforest and into the main section of the grassed area as well as shifting the toilet block back away from the river could also be effective responses to pollution and human impacts. More effective enforcement of rules and regulations through better monitoring and increased fines in relation to, ‘no chasing or disturbing wildlife', ‘no littering', ‘no hand feeding', and ‘no speeding/dangerous driving' could also significantly reduce pressures from human activities.

Long Term Management Strategies

Perhaps introducing a small entry fee and steadily increasing it over time could reduce vehicle traffic and the number of visitors, and may decrease pressures on the natural, built and human environs. The Mossman Gorge Gateway Project is a response to pressures on the natural, built and human environs. It will involve the Indigenous community which may reduce social and cultural pressures. The project should also effectively reduce vehicle traffic into the site, be able to restrict, or efficiently time the entry of visitors so as to reduce crowding, and make the local Indigenous people more comfortable when visiting the site.

Conclusion

Recreational activity at the Mossman Gorge site affects the state of the World Heritage tropical rainforest in the area. The introduction of large numbers of visitors and traffic, as well as building infrastructure to support these visitors had placed pressures on the natural environment. To conserve this sensitive area response measures are required to reduce pressures not only on the natural environ, but also the built and human environs. The associated concerns of the Indigenous community, that is adjacent to this recreational site, also need to be addressed. The Indigenous people are often faced with disrespect and bad behaviour from visitors which has displaced these Traditional Owners, lowered their self esteem, made them uncomfortable, and created a loss of sense of place and belonging. Through response mechanisms, there may be a decrease in social and cultural pressures and the concerns of the Indigenous could be addressed by involving them more in the management of the site.

References

Bentrupperbäumer, JM, & Reser, JP 2000, Impacts of Visitation and Use: Psychosocial and Biophysical Windows on Visitation and Use in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management, Cairns.

Hill, J., & Gale, T. (eds) 2009, Ecotourism and Environmental Sustainability: Principles and Practices, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Surrey.

Hill R, Baird, A, & Buchanan, D 1999, Aborigines and Fire in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia: Ecosystem Management Across Cultures, Society & Natural Resources, 12, pp. 205 - 223.

Kimmel, JR 1999, Ecotourism as Environmental Learning, The Journal of Environmental Education, 30, 2, pp. 40 - 44.

Murphy, A, & Harding, P 2008, Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef, 5th edn, Lonely Planet Publishing Pty Ltd, Victoria.

OECD, 2000, OECD Proceedings Frameworks to Measure Sustainable Development: An OECD Expert Workshop, OECD, Paris.

Pickering, CM, & Hill, W 2007, Impacts of recreation and tourism on plant biodiversity and vegetation in protected areas in Australia, The Journal of Environmental Management, 85, pp. 791 - 800.

Cow Bay Region

Urban Development within Tropical Rainforests

Introduction

General Overview

Human activity in a tropical rainforest can lead to forests destruction or degradation (Maloney, 1998). Urban development in this setting can have a number of negative drawbacks, particularly the clearance of land for development (Maloney, 1998). This development that occurs in these pristine and generally fragile environments can disrupt the soil system, cause extensive irreversible damage and facilitate more urban development (Maloney, 1998). Linear barriers and edge effects can result from urban development and cause the alteration or destruction of habitats, alter wildlife and vegetation populations, cause disturbances of light, dust, exhaust fumes, enable the intrusion of exotic species, fragment habitats and populations and result in increased mortality of animals from vehicle traffic (Laurance, & Bierregaard, 1997; Rico, Kindlmann, & Sedlacek, 2007). Over the past 150 years there have been dramatic changes to the rainforest in the Wet Tropics region (Bermingham, Dick, Moritz, 2005). The Daintree area is one of the most biologically diverse and significant regions within the WHWTA (Bermingham, Dick, Moritz, 2005). Urban growth and infrastructure in this area have impacted the natural environment and will continue to do so, such as by fragmenting habitats (Bermingham, Dick, Moritz, 2005; Rico, Kindlmann, & Sedlacek, 2007). There is a conflict between development and conservation in this area (Bermingham, Dick, Moritz, 2005). Rainforests provide key ecosystem services and thus hold significant value, hence developing sustainable management practices in these areas is essential (Bermingham, Dick, Moritz, 2005).

Site Location and Description

The Cow Bay region is a combination of a complex mosaic of vegetation types, including low land tropical rainforest, and urban development (Figure 5 & 6). The region is one of high biodiversity, located within the WTWHA (Rainforest CRC, 2000). Approximately, there are 287 properties in the area totalling 514 hectares; 80 properties of which are settled, 12 of which have been given to conservation purpose and the remaining are unsettled (Rainforest CRC, 2000). Within the settled properties, development ranges from entire clearing of private lands to only minimal clearing with rainforest residential dwellings (Rainforest CRC, 2000). The development of urban infrastructure has allowed access to what would have been a remote area.

Data Presentation

Methods

The OECD Pressure State Response model was used to develop proformas in which data could then be collected systematically (OECD, 2000). Systematic observational recordings of the natural environ were used to assess the region and the data was recorded in the proformas. Key indicators were developed and used to determine pressures that degraded the state of the natural environment due to urban development. Response measures already in place were then identified and additional responses were considered and recorded in the proformas. Additional key note taking was also used to collect data, along with photography to record pressures or responses.

Data was collected in the Cow Bay Region on the 27th of April 2010 from 3:00-4:30/5:00pm. The weather was overcast with minimal rain.

Results

The results are summarised in the following figures, photos and tables.

Discussion

Pressures

There are numerous conservation issues associated with the urbanisation of the Cow Bay Region within a lowland tropical rainforest setting. The main environmental pressures include pollution, human activities, clearing, fragmentation, edge effects and linear barriers. Pollution from vehicles and from people, in the form of rubbish and sewage, can cause the degradation of the natural environment. Human activities, such as clearing and developing private property, introducing exotic fruit, weed species and domestic animals, altering the flow and quality of water, tourism, using generators and farming place pressure on the natural environment. Clearing can cause loss of primary rainforest, secondary regrowth, soil degradation, water quality issues and can cause fragmentation. Fragmentation results in linear barriers and edge effects, impacting vegetation and wildlife as well as the biophysical environment. Climate change is also a long term pressure to the natural environment which may produce social and cultural issues.

Response

Short Term Management Strategies

Education of the regional population, as well as visitors to the region, could be accomplished through the installation of more effective signs and warnings of prohibited activities so as to convey the negative impacts of urban development within tropical rainforests. Decreasing the pressures from clearing and fragmentation could be accomplished through introducing buffer zones, wildlife corridors, substantially connecting tree canopies across roads and other linear barriers and possibly even building elevated roads to allow the passage of wildlife and reduce wildlife deaths. More effective regulations, such as banning the construction of fences and the clearing of vegetation, restricting water use, restricting the number of domestic animals per household and compulsory neutering of these animals, banning of sewage systems and implementation of bio-recycling, and the compulsory installation of solar power could be implemented to reduce pressures on the rainforest. The replanting of native vegetation along river and creeks banks as well as along roadsides could also reduce pressures, particularly erosion.

Long Term Management Strategies

To reduce the impacts of generators, such as noise and leaking fuel pollution, the introduction of environmentally appropriate electricity, such as carefully constructed powerlines, and low-impact hydro-power or wind power, over time may be a viable solution. To reduce the amount of waste produced that may potentially cause harm to the environment, a new rubbish disposal system could be implemented. This system should provide incentives for recycling and the minimization of waste, for example, through removing the waste charge from local government rates and implementing a system in which residents pay 10 cents per kilogram of general waste, while reimbursing residents 5 cents per kilogram of separated recycled waste. Residents should be provided with four small bins in which waste could easily be separated into paper, plastic, glass and general waste. Increasing local government rates on properties within this WTWHA could serve to discourage any further urban development or encourage more property owners to enter into government buy-back schemes. Implementing the reduction or restriction of visitors over time to the area in the wet season may also relieve some pressures on the natural environment and residents who do not rely on tourism may be happy to have a reprieve.

Problems That May Arise From Response Actions

Elevating roads to allow the passage of wildlife may cause destruction or increased impact during the construction phase and may not be cost effective. Residents may not accept the stricter implementation of regulations or the rise in rates which may lead to protracted legal arguments appealing the regulations across different levels of government. Political backlash may also arise from the introduction of such measures, and some of the regulations may need to be examined under state or federal legislation. Implementing electricity within this sensitive area may cause more harm than the pollution from the generators, such as creating linear barriers and increased wildlife deaths if powerlines were used. The introduction of new recycling measures may not cause a positive reaction; instead residents may choose to illegally dump their waste, which will cause more environmental harm. Additionally, reducing tourism for periods of time in the region may lead to a large economic loss for the region.

Conclusion

Urban development in the Cow Bay Region affects the state of the World Heritage tropical rainforest in the area. The introduction of infrastructure, a permanent population and large numbers of visitors and traffic have placed pressure on this sensitive natural environment. To conserve this area, response measures to these pressures are required so as to decrease the problems of linear barriers and edge effects that result from clearing and fragmentation.

References

Bermingham, E, Dick, CW, & Moritz, C 2005, Tropical Rainforests: Past, Present and Future, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Laurance, WF, & Bierregaard, RO (eds.) 1997, TropicalForest Remnants: Ecology, Management, and Conservation of Fragmented Communities, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Maloney, BK (ed.) 1998, Human Activities and the Tropical Rainforest: Past, Present and Possible Future, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.

OECD, 2000, OECD Proceedings Frameworks to Measure Sustainable Development: An OECD Expert Workshop, OECD, Paris.

Rainforest CRC 2000, Daintree Futures Study: Final Report to the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council,

Rainforest CRC, Cairns .

Rico, A, Kindlmann, P, & Sedlacek, F 2007, Barrier effects of roads on movements of small mammals, Folia Zoologica, 56, 1, pp. 1 - 12.

Tourism Daintree Coast 2007, Daintree and Cape Tribulation Maps, Tourism Daintree Coast, Daintree, viewed 21st April 2010, < http://www.daintreecoast.com/maps.html>.

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.