Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (11): 2210-2223.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.11.13

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A review of research on national park recreation in the past 20 years

LI Hongyi(), WU Rulian(), TIAN Fengjun   

  1. School of Tourism and Urban Management, Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, Nanchang 330013, China
  • Received:2019-10-23 Revised:2020-04-20 Online:2020-11-25 Published:2021-01-25
  • Contact: WU Rulian;


The research on national park recreation is of great significance for protecting the national park ecosystem and meeting public recreation needs, and has recently become a hotspot in resource economics and recreation ecology. This article summarized and reviewed the status and achievements of national park recreation research between 2000 and 2019. The results show that: (1) Research on national park recreation in China and internationally has received extensive attention and the number of publications has shown a rapid growth. The existing research mainly focuses on the following seven aspects: national park recreation functional zoning, recreation industry, construction of recreation facilities, recreationist, recreation evaluation, environmental impact, and management. A research framework of “one foundation, four major themes, and two tools” was formed. (2) National park recreation research is mainly based on quantitative methods, supplemented by qualitative research. Research using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods based on national park big data and GIS spatial analysis technology needs to be focused on in the future. (3) Research on national park recreation in Europe and the United States developed earlier than in China, and a relatively complete set of national park recreation theories and management frameworks has been established. In contrast, research in China is still in the exploratory phase. More localized explorations have been carried out in the field of national parks recreation, providing Chinese cases for international research, but theoretical development is relatively insufficient. Based on these findings, the article proposed the following research focus on national park recreation in China in the future: strengthening basic theoretical research, improving evaluation methods, conducting multidisciplinary research on visitors, and improving research on recreation management. It is hoped that this study will contribute to enriching the research on China’s national parks and providing some guidance for Chinese national park recreation management.

Key words: national park, functional zoning, recreational value, environmental impact, recreation management