li_colson et al. env mod soft

Li S., Colson V., Lejeune P., Speybroeck N., Vanwambeke S.O.

[2015] Agent-based modelling of the spatial pattern of leisure visitation in forests: A case study in Wallonia, south Belgium. Environmental Modelling and Software 71. 111-125

The leisure use of forests is a fast growing sector in European tourism. The difficulties in monitoring real usage pattern have hindered communications in tourism, conservation and public health in forested areas. In this study, we present an agent-based model to approximate forest visit patterns at the regional level, based on the visitor, residential and forest attributes. The model was then adapted locally for Wallonia, south Belgium, to predict the daily distribution of forest visits and visitor flows. The results suggest high visit rates in urban forests. In highly attractive forests that are distant from major cities, the visit rates may greatly respond to the visitor-level and environmental changes. Future empirical investigations are encouraged to build a cross-contextual understanding on visitors’ decision-making mechanisms and to identify how these mechanisms may be influenced by environmental factors operating at different spatio-temporal levels.

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