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Singapore Zoo lies with twenty-eight hectares of land, in the Upper Selectar Reservoir. The reservoir lies within central catchment area, which is heavily forested. The zoo contains at least three hundred and fifteen animal species, and attracts more than 1.6 million visitors every year. The Zoo has always followed the modern pattern of displaying animals. The zoo displays animals in an open and naturalistic exhibit, having moats, barriers, and glass between visitors and animals. Because the zoo attracts many visitors, the management is bound to face several issues relating to visits to the park. The management can use several approaches to manage these issues for the visitors benefit, as well as the benefit of the animals. In the planning and management approaches, Singapore Zoo management can utilize a number of available tools that make park and zoo management easy. These tools include the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS), the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC), Visitor Activity Management Process (VAMP), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), and Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP).
Visitor Impact Management
This management tool covers a variety of techniques and processes for supervising visitors, their impacts and their activities in specific areas (Buckley, 2004). Public and private organizations in the tourism sector use this tool for managing natural areas that require special protection. VIM’s focus is on the visitor impacts on specific locations. This management tool, just like the visitor Activity Management tool, relies on specific methods for its application. The methods include education, track hardening, time mechanisms, behaviour management and other design led solutions. VIM processes recognizes the standards and indicators for mangers to obtain desired goals. The managers at Singapore Zoo would need to state the zoo’s goals, in order to utilize this tool. The goals can range on the type of resources, activities, and the recreationists. Therefore, if the goal of the zoo is to maintain the animals’ health or increase visitors per year, the management can utilize VIM to help the zoo achieve this goal. In this aspect, the tool resembles Limits of Acceptable Change, though its techniques are simpler than those of LAC, and were the first ones to be developed. VIM’s techniques are more familiarized to respond to the perceptions of managers instead of the stakeholders. Additionally, it is easy to incorporate VIM’s processes for participation models. As stated earlier, VIM is most applicable in protected areas management. Despite this, it is compulsory to apply formal frameworks to influence its positive performance.
VIM’s framework follows the following steps;
- Pre-assessing database review- in this step, the management compiles and reviews applicable information that it already has so as to obtain initial problems’ perspectives.
- Reviewing management options-, the management reviews its current objectives in order to state and define the type of experiences that the site offers.
- Selecting key impact indicators- managers selects objective indicators that define variables and planning objectives.
- Selecting impact indicator standards- Managers decide when and how the above indicators are measured, and specify the acceptable limits levels.
- Comparing existing conditions standards- the steps compares the present situation with the desired conditions.
- Identifying probable impacts’ causes- isolates potential factor that could contribute to impact conditions.
- Identifying management strategies- this step identifies a variety of strategy alternatives that helps in recognizing type, amount and the distribution of people suing activities.
- Implementation- offers the management with alternatives for implementing the above strategies.
Another framework is VAMP, which includes the following steps;
- Selecting objectives for visitor activities
- Setting terms of references
- Identifying visitor management issues
- Analyzing visitor management issue
- Developing visitor activity and services options
- Providing propositions and seeking the approval of services, activities or facility plan
- Implementing recommended options
These processes can extend to include other steps, especially in areas with broader analysis scales. The additional steps would include reviewing and identifying issues, indicator selection, resources inventory, indicator standards specification, iterative monitoring process and implementation, impact versus standards comparison, and management alternative identification. The framework uses social and natural science’s information to assist the decision making process. It also employs an open market orientation to include resource opportunities with visitor demands. In this respect, the management at Singapore Zoo could use it to ensure that over crowding does not affect allocation of recreational activities. The framework helps the management develop various options for services and activities for visitors, and provide advices on activity approval plan. The park’s management would use this framework to plan and ensure that the number of visitors to the park at any point coincides with the number of available resources.Visitor management is a key concept to the functioning of the Department of Conservation (DOC) strategy, as it fosters utilization of historic and natural recreational resources. The DOC visitor strategy allows the management of design the management process by seeking to identify values, assessing potential visitor impacts, responding and monitoring the impacts and developing an ideal management regime. The focus of the DOC is to develop a standard process, which identifies key visitor impacts, especially on the values of the location. To do this effectively, the strategy employs the help of other management agencies like Geographic Information Systems.
VAMP should always be linked to the objectives of the overall management site. Its analysis and investigation sites should recognize the cause of impacts in order to allow the set up of deeper research and monitoring framework. In the past, Visitor Management was based on the interpretations and perceptions of managers on the ground. In addition to this, agency’s policies and legislation drove its operations. Presently, stakeholders’ involvement is possible for reviewing relevant objectives, selecting central monitoring standards and indicators and initiating input into related strategies for management. This stakeholder involvement is beneficial in instances where there are suitable indicators of unacceptable consequences. In this case, the input of the public is able to identify relevant stakeholder perceptions on specific issues. In this respect, traditional VIM was similar to the processes of LAC.
The Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC)
A central wilderness management goal is restoring or maintaining solitude and naturalness qualities. Sometimes human-induced changes usually threat the quality of solitude and naturalness qualities of the wilderness. It is possible to eliminate recreational changes if the management prohibits incorrect use of the wilderness by visitors. Because of this, wilderness management challenge is not preventing human induced change, but deciding on the extent of change allowable, where this changed is allowed and the control actions the management can use. This paper looks into the amount of allowable change, explicitly defined by quantitative standard means, procedural evaluation and monitoring of management as well as the apposite management actions. The processes of LAC oblige managers to characterize needed conditions of the wilderness and undertake appropriate measures to achieve and maintain these conditions. Certain pressures influence these conditions, including fire control, recreation, mining, and grazing. Despite having identified recreation as an important concern of LAC, it is important to emphasize that the management of the wilderness absorbs more than recreation. The following LAC processes provide a structure for managing the dilemma of accommodating human use, yet preserving the quality of the wilderness. These processes provide basic attention to the conditions of the wilderness that are present, and those that the management judge as acceptable. An important aspect of the LAC process is the explicit recognition of the value of presenting diverse wilderness circumstances. Putting in mind that any wilderness use usually results into some amount of effect, the processes oblige managers to identify locations of damage, the extent and the appropriate or acceptable degrees of change. The LAC process includes four fundamental components; the first component is specifying the achievable and satisfactory resource and social conditions, through measurable parameters. The second component is analyzing the relationship between the conditions that already exists and those that the management judges as acceptable. Thirdly, the management must identify the necessary actions for achieving the conditions and lastly, the management must establish a program for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the management. The four components are further divided into nine steps in order to facilitate their application. The first step is identifying an area of concern or issue, step two us defining and describing class opportunity, step three is selecting resource indicators and social conditions, step four, establishing an inventory resource, step five, specifying resource conditions and social indicators, step six identifying alternative allocations for opportunity class. Step seven includes identifying appropriate management actions for every alternative, followed by an evaluation and selection of an effective alternative, and finally, implementing actions and monitor conditions.
Application of the LAC
The application of LAC follows is a step by step process, focus on each of the nine steps. In the application in Singapore zoo, it is necessary to define an issue area as well as concerns of the public and the management. Singapore Zoo is the earliest and most important zoo in Singapore. Because it attracts numerous visitors every year, a common issue that the management has identified is animal feeding and littering. In the application, the first step is identifying and describing opportunity classes. The opportunities that both the public and the management identify are littering, over crowding and animal feeding. After this, it is necessary to select resource and social conditions indicators. The possible indicators here include recreationist encounters, forage utilization and multiple trails.
Recreation Opportunity Spectrum
This is a behavioural approach, which helps land managers identify and provide diversified recreational opportunities for public land managers (Diamantis, 2004). It recognizes the human beings seek not just a recreational site, but a complex experience that comes from a mixture of related factors. This tool allows managers to zone, describe and provide varied experiences fro recreation to the public, while acknowledging that no one land piece can offer an entire spectrum of recreational activities. The spectrum that ROS identifies the range on a continuum of primitive to semi-primitive, natural to rural, motorized to reloaded, to urban. Every classification has different sorts of settings. Primitive classification may focus on the social setting that is most appropriate for encounters with less than six parties’ days on trial (Pigram &, M.J 2006). On the other hand, reloaded natural may focus on necessary social setting, which allows moderate to the high road contacts. ROS seeks to identify large land polygons, where specific recreational experiences would be most available to the public. It has tentative specifications, which are expressed in percentage range. ROS also understands that when people consider outdoor recreation opportunities, they make choices on activities, settings and recreational experiences. A recreation opportunity setting refers to a combination of social, biological, physical and managerial conditions, which adds value to a place. In this respect, an opportunity includes nature qualities (landscapes, vegetation and scenery), recreational use qualities (types and levels of use ) and conditions that the management provides (regulations, roads and developments). It is possible for the management to provide recreational opportunities when it combines these variations. The primary assumption under ROS is that management can assure outdoor recreation quality by providing diversified opportunities. There are numerous preferences and tastes for recreational activities, however, many visitors consider personalized quality as the most important quality. Recreation opportunities should provided different psychological outcomes,
Application of the ROS
Managers can use ROS to offer visitors with certain information about what the site is like, and not the experiences visitors should expect. The visitor’s opportunity choice will offer feedback on the degree to which opportunities accomplish the outcomes that visitors desired. ROS provides a framework that varies situational attributes explicitly, in order to yield several recreational opportunities. The recreationists will utilize these opportunities to derive satisfaction. The opportunity factor is defined using several factors including access, non recreational resource uses, onsite management, social interaction, visitor management acceptability and acceptable regimentation level. Types of access include trails, cross-country travel and roads. ROS helps management design and define access systems. Research indicates wide preference in the type of access that cuts across many conditions (Dawson & Hendee, 2008). Non recreational resource factor considers the extent of use of non recreational resources such as grazing and mining. For example, visitors to semi arid primitive locations with roads usually accept logging and grazing, though they may express concerns over large clear cuts. On site management feature includes modifications to the site such as vegetation of exotic species, landscaping, vegetation management and traffic barriers. Evaluating the appropriateness of site management is done by considering four elements; modification extent, modification extent, modification apparentness, and facilities. The fourth factor is social interaction. Recreationists tend to have low interaction levels in primitive settings while the opposite is observable in modern settings. Insufficient interaction levels in certain settings especially modern, is sometimes undesirable, as is excessive interaction levels in primitive settings (Jamal &Robinson, 2009). Managers of sites must pay attention to the necessary type of use for every setting. For example, in primitive settings, recreationists may travel by foot while cars and automobiles are most applicable in modern settings. The fifth factor in ROS is visitor impacts accessibility. These impacts may be felt by other people through noises or on resources through pollution and trampling. Any use on sites usually result into some impact, therefore, it is upon the management to decide on the appropriate levels of impacts. Managers must maintain equal opportunities for excellent recreation. They must also maintain and protect the values of other resources. To do this, they must identify the appropriate levels of impact, which is done through environmental analysis. The last factor is acceptable regimentation, which describes the extent, nature and control level of opportunities. Modern opportunities tend to be more organized and regulate, compared to primitive ones. To achieve efficiency, managers combine these factors in order to cove a comprehensive spectrum of recreational opportunities. This combination determines the allowable range for recreational activities.
The ROS offers a thinking strategy for managers, which helps them determine recreation opportunities appropriate for specific areas. However, ROS also has application in planning and allocating recreational resources, matching the recreationist experiences with their desired opportunities, and estimating the impacts of decisions made by management over recreational opportunities.