Wilderness planning using the limits of acceptable change system : a case study of the overnight caves in the Mlambonja wilderness area of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park.
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Human-induced impacts associated with recreational use in wilderness areas have the potential to imperil the wilderness resource and the quality of visitor experiences. One approach to address this problem is the Limits of Acceptable Change System, which helps Protected-area managers determine acceptable levels of resource impacts and social conditions in wilderness areas. This study's objective was to determine the possible applicability of the Limits of Acceptable Change System to the overnight caves in the wilderness areas of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Component A of the study discusses the ten steps of the Limits of Acceptable Change system and the management approaches for the wilderness areas and overnight caves in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. A product of Component A is a procedure manual for inventorying indicators of resource conditions in the overnight caves. During a brief period of field research this procedure manual was applied to four overnight caves in the Mlambonja Wilderness area. Component B of the study summarizes much of the information found in Component A and examines the results from the field research. Recommendations are made to improve the effectiveness of measuring the resource indicators for the overnight caves in the procedure manual. This study's conclusions indicate that the Limits of Acceptable Change System can be applied to the overnight caves and would provide a valid management framework to address visitor impacts
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