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Social carrying capacity of the Horton plains national park, Sri Lanka


RMW Rathnayake ,

About RMW
Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Management Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya
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U A D P Gunawardena

About U A D P
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Nugegoda
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The goal of this study was to investigate the social carrying capacity (SCC) of the Horton Plains National Park (HPNP). Crowding is considered as the social norm for estimating the standards for SCC. The ‘normative theory’ approach was applied in this study and separate social norm curves were prepared for each viewing point. Based on the hypothesis that visitor acceptability or tolerance is influenced by ‘crowding’, scenarios (images) with different numbers of visitors were generated for five main viewing points in the HPNP. The crowding standards for SCC were estimated by asking each respondent whether the presented scenarios were acceptable or not at each viewing point. The average visitor acceptability decreased with increasing number of visitors (‘crowding’). The social norm curves were used to determine the standards. It was revealed that view points at the HPNP were crowded beyond the carrying capacity standards during weekends and public holidays. The highest carrying capacity standard was found at the Greater World’s End and the least was recorded at the Chimney Pool. Therefore, the results of the present study could be applied in decision making to diversify tourism activities in order to achieve better visitor management.


Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences 2012/2013 35/36 (1&2): 29-36

How to Cite: Rathnayake, R. and Gunawardena, U.A.D.P., 2014. Social carrying capacity of the Horton plains national park, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 35(1-2), pp.29–36. DOI:
Published on 02 Sep 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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