The Petzen/Peca pilot site within the Karawanken-Karavanke UNESCO Global Geopark is a touristic hotspot for mountain biking, hiking, and skiing enthusiasts. To analyse the potential impact of visitor movement through natural habitats, an analysis of seed transportation through hikers and mountain bikers was carried out.
Samples were gathered from the shoe profiles and bike tires of visitors to measure the potential transport of non-native and invasive plant species. Approximately 20 samples were collected in the field within a single day. Subsequently, these samples were transported to a laboratory in Klagenfurt, where laboratory interns collaborated with our e-DNA expert to process the data and compile preliminary reports.
The project is planned to continue with additional sample collections in the area, furthering our understanding of the tourism-related effects on the local ecosystem.