Recreation Ecology Research Network



(Please note that future updates will only be made on the WIKI site)


Introduction to the RERN


Recreation ecology is the field of ecology that is concerned with the impacts of recreation on the environment. Despite the importance of this topic to sustainable tourism and the management of parks, recreational and other protected areas, research in this field has been sparse, disparate and relatively uncoordinated. For a brief period of time in the 1970s and early 1980s, a Recreation Ecology Research Group existed in the UK . Since then, however, there has been no established network of recreation ecologists. Nor has there been a forum for the regular sharing of information among recreation ecology researchers. Recreation ecology research is being conducted on all continents in the world, but there has been little cross-continental collaboration. There is relatively little development of concepts and theory in the field and little cross-fertilization of ideas. Interactions between recreation ecologists and the larger field of ecology are sporadic, as are interactions between recreation ecologists and recreation social scientists. Consequently, recreation ecology has languished.


In October 2005, a small group of recreation ecologists (Ralf Buckley [by phone], Chris Carr, David Cole, Yu-Fai Leung, Jeff Marion, Chris Monz and Catherine Pickering [through correspondence]) met to discuss the status of recreation ecology and identify ways to make the field more vibrant. We decided that it was important to do the following:  

  1. Develop venues for better communication among recreation ecologists.

  2. Promote collaboration among recreation ecologists.

  3. Participate in meetings and other venues with other ecologists, recreation social scientists, and managers (to increase collaboration, identify funding sources and to establish professional networks for graduate students interested in recreation ecology).

  4. Promote conceptual and theoretical development in the field.  

We decided that we could immediately make progress on the first two of these needs by developing an informal network of recreation ecology researchers. In the future, this network might be expanded to include managers and researchers in related fields. We might decide to develop a professional organization and/or to write a regular newsletter. The initial step we decided to take was to create the Recreation Ecology Research Network E-mail Discussion List (The “RECECOL” Listserv) to facilitate dialogue among recreation ecology researchers. In the future, we will seek thoughts about where this network might go, ideas about how to promote collaboration amongst us, about potential funding sources, and about research priorities. We will also explore interest in developing a professional organization for recreation ecologists. We also welcome suggestions about other researchers to invite.




  • Online Resources (under construction)

Last Updated: November 26, 2009  YFL