The Evaluation of carrying capacity represent a necessary scientific support for visitors management, ensuring the sustainable conservation of natural heritage.
To know about the impact of tourism on species and habitats in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR), like in all protected areas, is very important for a proper management.
According to DDBRA Management Plan, tourism development based on the carrying capacity of the reserve ecosystems is closely linked to the development of a monitoring system in order to have a clear evidence and control of the tourists flow.
In order to establish the limits up to which the tourism development and infrastructure do not affect the carrying capacity of the Protected Areas, it was required a Study for the evaluation of the Carrying capacity which is used in the context of sustainable tourism. It is often proposed as a method to evaluate the intensity of tourist development, a tourist destination can support taken into account the ecological, economical and social characteristics of that destination.
This study included: description of the monitoring methodology and
recommendations for assessments in another area.
The carrying capacity concept comprises not only ecological but also the visitor and socio-economic aspects. It integrates the proposal regarding the development of a sustainable transportation network inside Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

Resources needed

Within DANUBEPARKS STEP2.0 project, financed through the SEE Programme 2007-2013, a working group which included DDBRA members, external parteners (institutions and organisations) and the contractor, contributed to the development of the study.
DDBRA Budget: aprox: 28,000 Euro

Evidence of success

DDBRA and Landkreis Neuburg Schrobenhausen partner, as a pilot, assessed their carrying capacities and integrate their gained know-how into a joint transferrable CARRYING CAPACITY TOOL, that is now available to all partners of the network.
DDBRA developed also a digital tourist handbook, in the form of an application for mobile devices, to lead visitors on the designated tourist routes and to provide necessary information. The App can be downloaded for free on Google Play and App Store.

Difficulties encountered

It must be taken into account environmental, social and economic indicators in such a way that the interest of all stakeholders and the area itself are well balanced and can progress.

Potential for learning or transfer

This monitoring system is unique for every Protected Area since they differ from one to another, from the Upper and Middle Danube to the Lower Danube Region. Based on the carrying capacity study, a partnership between the Protected Area, local authorities, and tourism stakeholders must be developed, including the coordination of visitors flows and therefore of the distribution of visitor pressure on natural habitats.

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Main institution
Sud-Est, Romania (România)
Start Date
January 2014
End Date


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