The impact of recreational activities on an alpine vascular plant community in the Canadian Rockies

  • Author / Creator
    Crisfield, Varina
  • Alpine tundra is notorious for its fragility and slow recovery following disturbance. Tourism is increasing in alpine areas, creating the need to improve our understanding of the impacts of recreation in these ecosystems. This study examined the impacts of hiking and off-highway vehicle use on the vascular flora of dry alpine meadows in the Canadian Rockies by comparing community data, including rare plant distributions, on recreational trails, on intact tundra meadows, and on sparsely vegetated gravel steps formed by frost disturbance. The trails were found to be different from both undisturbed and naturally disturbed tundra in terms of vascular plant cover, diversity, species composition and soil compaction. Rare plants do not seem to be adversely affected by recreational activities. Trampling leads to environmental conditions that will likely make regeneration of abandoned trails an extremely slow process, and it is advisable to limit the extent of trail networks in alpine areas.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.