Ecotourism issues

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Ecotourism issues
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002 19:03:16 +1000
The following item is accessible at  and is a useful
discussion piece on the potential impacts of ecotourism and other activities

Frid, A. and L. M. Dill. 2002. Human-caused disturbance stimuli as a form of
predation risk. Conservation Ecology 6(1): 11. [online] 

       Are Disturbance Stimuli Really Analagous to Predation Risk? 
       Trade-offs Directly Related to Energy Gain 
              Vigilance and related activity shifts
              Habitat selection
       Aquiring Mates 
       Parental Investment 
       Indirect Effects on Populations 
       Indirect Effects on Communities 
       Why Invoke the Risk-Disturbance Hypothesis 
       Responses to this Article 
       Literature Cited 


A growing number of studies quantify the impact of nonlethal human disturbance
on the behavior and reproductive success of animals. Athough many are well
designed and analytically sophisticated, most lack a theoretical framework for
making predictions and for understanding why particular responses occur.
Behavioral ecologists have recently begun to fill this theoretical vacuum by
applying economic models of antipredator behavior to disturbance studies. In
this emerging paradigm, predation and nonlethal disturbance stimuli create
similar trade-offs between avoiding perceived risk and other fitness-enhancing
activities, such as feeding, parental care, or mating. A vast literature
supports the hypothesis that
antipredator behavior has a cost to other activities, and that this trade-off is
optimized when investment in antipredator behavior tracks short-term changes in
predation risk. Prey have evolved antipredator responses to generalized 
stimuli, such as loud noises and rapidly approaching objects. Thus, when
encountering disturbance stimuli ranging from the dramatic, low-flying
helicopter to the quiet wildlife photographer, animal responses are likely to
follow the same
economic principles used by prey encountering predators. Some authors have
argued that, similar to predation risk, disturbance stimuli can indirectly
affect fitness and population dynamics via the energetic and lost opportunity
costs of risk
avoidance. We elaborate on this argument by discussing why, from an evolutionary
perspective, disturbance stimuli should be analogous to predation risk. We then
consider disturbance effects on the behavior of individuals?vigilance, fleeing,
habitat selection, mating displays, and parental investment?as well as indirect
effects on populations and communities. A wider application of predation risk
theory to disturbance studies should increase the generality of predictions and
make mitigation more effective without over-regulating human activities. 

Address of Correspondent:
Alejandro Frid 
Behavioural Ecology Research Group 
Department of Biological Sciences 
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6 
current address: POB 10357, Whitehorse, YT, Canada,Y1A 7A1 
Phone: 867/393-4027

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