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Capacity reconsidered: Finding consensus and clarifying differences


Whittaker, Doug; Shelby, Bo; Manning, Robert; Cole, David; Haas, Glenn. 2010. Capacity reconsidered: Finding consensus and clarifying differences. Marienville, PA: National Association of Recreation Resource Planners. 18 p.

In a world where populations and resource demands continue to grow, there is a long history of concern about the "capacity" of the environment to support human uses, including timber, rangelands, fish and wildlife, and recreation. Work on visitor capacities has evolved considerably since the late 1960s as a result of environmental planning, court proceedings, recreation management practice, and recreation research. This monograph documents the "state-of-knowledge" understanding of capacity among our group of long-term professionals, who represent a wide range of experience and perspectives. The first section defines capacity as "the amount and type of use that is compatible with the management prescription for an area," and elaborates on the elements of that definition. The main body of the monograph describes 34 agreements about the larger planning context, the definition of capacity, benefits of capacity, indicators and standards, and the roles of these concepts in resource planning and management. The third section identifies issues needing resolution, including four "differences we resolved" and five "differences that remain." This monograph is not the "final answer," and others will contribute to this on-going dialogue as agencies, the courts, academics, and resource professionals work to resolve capacity issues. We hope our work adds clarity, advances understanding, and encourages others to contribute their ideas.

Keywords: capacity, environment, human uses, visitor


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Capacity reconsidered: Finding consensus and clarifying differences
Electronic Publish Date: June 16, 2010
Last Update:
June 16, 2010

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