Social Carrying Capacity in Beach Management in Barbados

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Abstract

CUMBERBATCH, J and MOSES, J., 2011. Social Carrying Capacity in Beach Management in Barbados. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 14-23. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

This research investigated Social Carrying Capacity (SCC) in the context of beach management in Barbados. The research contributed to evidence-based decision making by providing data that can inform the enhancement of the beach management plan of the Government of Barbados. Data were gathered from locals and tourists visiting several beaches over a four year period, 2005 - 2009. Questionnaires were used to collect data on variables including: demographics, beach choice and use preferences, beach accessibility, beach amenities and activities, and perceptions of crowding. Findings indicated that there were distinct demographic use patterns with respect to time of use, activities and amenity preferences. It was found that while the existing beach management plan sought to create a balance between ecological and social objectives, it did not sufficiently reflect or take the diversity of the users into account. The study concluded that the diversity of needs and uses had the potential for user conflict, and therefore made recommendations for making the management plan more attentive to social carrying capacity issues.

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