Visitor information

Visitor information
Signage, information boards and waymarking can channel visitors in sensitive areas. © Yann Kohler

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Local population/citizens, Public relations and environmental education

Affected habitats

Measure independent of habitat

Description

Information boards can be used to sensitise the public to the issue of biotope networks and inform them about relevant measures, e.g. in a nature conservation area. Visitors can also be channelled through a specific area by the information boards. In this way, usage can be shifted towards less sensitive areas, while efforts are made to preserve the tranquillity of, and reduce the burden on, areas in special need of protection and quiet zones. Information points are a good way of providing information and supporting active learning processes and “light-footprint” observation opportunities. Depending on the area, cultural and historical information can also form part of the pathway.

Impact

Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats In combination with strategies to channel visitors, habitat improvements can be achieved (e.g. by creating a quieter environment in some areas).
Other Information systems cannot be expected to produce direct ecological impacts, but in the long term, public awareness is increased and there is greater acceptance of the relevant measures.
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: Visitor information boards can start to have an impact as soon as they are in place. During the planning process, however, it is important to ensure that no additional disturbance will be caused.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Educational pathways and information strategies can also be implemented on a larger scale. In general, however, they should only be considered for habitats which will not suffer any impairment as a result of the placement of information boards.

Implementation

Implementation period Months: Planning and implementation of information strategies take time, depending on the size of the area.
Frequency Non-recurring: Info boards require permanent care.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): Costs can vary considerably depending on the materials used, scale and design. At least € 1000 in material costs must be assumed for each information board.
Socio-economic impacts No direct impact: Attractive information offers may be beneficial to tourism.
Sources of financing Other private sources, Public: local

Further information

Evaluation A wealth of information offers is available, which often also serve to channel visitors. In Switzerland, since 1996, near-natural areas and a networked system of natural habitats for flora and fauna have been developed in the Grosses Moos biotope network. In this context, an information strategy was developed with interactive elements, explaining the individual elements of the biotope network.
Information Switzerland: Information programme in Grosses Moos (Switzerland): http://www.echanges.ch/exchange02/pdf/atelier_moos.pdf

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