Implementing rapid assessment of the trail environments of arid regions: indicator development and implementation scenarios
As part of the effort to streamline management efforts in protected areas worldwide and assist accountability reporting, new techniques to help guide conservation goals and monitor progress are needed. Rapid assessment is recognized as a field-level data collection technique, but each rapid assessment index is limited to only the ecoregion for which it is designed. This dissertation contributes to the existing bodies of conservation monitoring and tourism management literature in four ways: (i.) Indicators are developed for rapid assessment in arid and semi-arid regions, and the processes by which new indicators should be developed is explained; (ii.) Interpolation of surveyed data is explored as a step in the analysis process of a dataset collected through rapid assessment; (iii.) Viewshed is used to explore differences in impacts at two study sites and its underutilization in this context of conservation management is explored; and (iv.) A crowdsourcing tool to distribute the effort of monitoring trail areas is developed and deployed, and the results are used to explore this data collection's usefulness as a management tool.