Coastal Scenic Evaluation of Continental Ecuador and Galapagos Islands: Human Impacts and Management Issues
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Author/sMestanza-Ramón, Carlos; Anfuso Melfi, Giorgio; Chica Ruiz, Juan Adolfo; Mooser, Alexis; Botero, Camilo M.; Pranzini, Enzo
DepartmentCiencias de la Tierra; Historia, Geografía y Filosofía
SourceJ. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(6), 468
The scenery, safety, facilities, water quality and litter quantities in coastal areas are relevant and determining elements in the choice of a tourist destination. This paper focused on the evaluation of coastal scenic value in 55 and 12 sites respectively located in continental Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. The information obtained gives public administrators and coastal managers the relevant data to avoid further environmental degradation and suggests measures to improve the present scenic value of tourist destinations. The methodology used was based on the analysis of 26 physical/human factors and applied fuzzy logic analysis and weighting matrices that allowed the sites to be classified into five classes, from Class I (natural areas with superior scenic characteristics) to Class V (poor scenic areas with relevant impact of human interventions). The most attractive beaches were in the Galapagos Islands due to the magnificent physical and environmental characteristics, while the Esmeraldas province presented sites of lower scenic beauty due to the low natural scenic value and the increase of human impacts. In total, 22% (15 out of 67) of the beaches investigated belonged to Class I, 12% (8) to Class II and 15% (10) to Class III. The last two classes included 51% of the beaches (i.e., 34 out of 67), of which 31% (21) was in Class IV and 20% (13) in Class V. Such results provide local managers and planners a solid inventory on coastal scenic characteristics and baseline information for any envisaged subsequent management plan.