Evaluation of recreational trampling impact along nature trails in Sandakan Rainforest Park

Kavitha Ravichandran, (2019) Evaluation of recreational trampling impact along nature trails in Sandakan Rainforest Park. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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Abstract

A recreational trampling study is the scientific study of environmental impacts resulting from trampling in natural trails. Most of these studies involves intensity of usage, impact on vegetation and long-term effect of trampling. Nature trails in Sandakan Rainforest Park experience impacts from trampling. The objective of this study is to identify the impact of trampling by ascertaining the physical changes of soil and vegetation as well as to determine the trail disturbance based on trail assessment method. Trampling impacts depends on visitor use and rainfall. This study was carried out using fieldwork sampling adopted by Cole (1978) and Malandi (2012). Questionnaire survey data collection was modified by Tomes et al (2005) and Marion et al (2006). Convenient sampling was conducted in the trail and also in the undisturbed site which acts as a control point. 30 checkpoints were determined along the nature trail for sampling purpose. Each checkpoint has three subplots; (Plot A; on trail), within five metres from the trail (Plot B; <Sm) and beyond five metres (Plot C; >Sm) from the trail. Quadrat plots of lmxlm were placed on every subplot, and soil compaction was measured using a FieldScout SC 900 Soil Compaction Meter. The average of compaction (kPa) until soil depth of 15 cm was taken in each plot. All the readings taken on trail plot will be compared to the control plot using ANOVA. The biodiversity index for the vegetation species was calculated. The result was also compared between the high use and low use trail using t-test analysis. The impact of visitor use and rainfall on soil and vegetation was tested using multiple regression analysis. The result found 916 vegetation from 58 species and 34 families in the study site. The ANOVA result indicated a definite difference in vegetation abundance among the plot. Margelef's index, Simpson's index and Shannon's index proved that Plot C (>Sm) had the highest diversity, followed by Plot B ( <Sm) and Plot A (on trail). The average soil compaction is 934.59 kPa on the trail, 486.09 kPa within five metres from the trail and 462. 74 kPa beyond five metres from the trail. This result shows a clear impact of trampling on soil compaction because the compaction on the trail subplot is almost doubled the compaction further from the trail subplots. The questionnaire survey indicate that the trail in SRFP is in good condition. The predictive equation from regression analysis of the soil compaction were produced with the independent variables of rainfall amount, visitor use and distance from trail. This study can be a baseline to reduce the impact on nature and increase the sustainability as well. The excessive trampling activity can cause damage to ecology in future and need to be monitored appropriately to maintain the ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sandakan , vegetation , biodiversity , rainfall
Subjects: S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Divisions: FACULTY > Faculty of Science and Natural Resources
Depositing User: Noraini
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2020 08:38
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2020 08:38
URI: http://eprints.ums.edu.my/id/eprint/25228

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