Birds in an Australian Rainforest: Their Attraction for Visitors and Visitor's Ecological Impacts
Lamington National Park in Queensland, Australia is noted for its rainforest and is part of the World Heritage listed property but prior to this work, no systematic study has been done of the importance of birds to its visitors. This study is based on data from survey forms handed to visitors at an important site in the park and completed by visitors following their visit. It yielded 622 useable responses. These enabled us to establish the comparative importance of birds as an attraction to this site for this sample of visitors. Furthermore, logit regression is used to target analysis and to identify factors that increase the likelihood of a visitor saying that birds are an important attraction. In addition, the relative importance to visitors of various attributes of birds at this site is established. These attributes include hearing birds, diversity of birds, seeing lots of birds, presence of rare birds, presence of brightly coloured birds and physical contact with birds. Logit regression analysis is used to isolate independent variables that increase or decrease the likelihood that visitors find diversity of birds, brightly coloured birds or physical contact with birds at this site to be important. For example, factors such as the level of education of visitors, their gender, knowledge of birds and conservation attitudes and statistically significant influences. As a result of the analysis potential conflicts between different types of park visitors in relation to human interaction with birds are identified. Some potential ecological implications of human interactions with birds are modelled and discussed, and their economic conservation and biodiversity consequences are considered
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