Sustainable Use of Tropical Ecosystems: Ecotourism Dr. Mark McGinley Honors College and Department of Biological Sciences Texas Tech University
Tourism• Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes.• The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".• Wikipedia
Tourism• In 2010, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide, representing a growth of 6.6% when compared to 2009.• International tourism receipts grew to US$ 919 billion
Tourism in SE Asia• Cambodia – Indirect effects of tourism accounts for 10.2 % of GDP and 8.5% of employment
Tourism in SE Asia• Thailand – Indirect effects of tourism accounts for 8.5 % of GDP and 6.2 % of employment – http://unstats.un.org/un sd/tradeserv/Workshops /Vientiane/4%20- %20ESCAP%20- %20Importance%20of%2 0tourism%20in%20Sout h-East%20Asia.pdf
Tourism in SE Asia• 24,714,32 international arrivals in Malaysia in 2011 – About half are from Singapore and Indonesia• Accounted for the receipt of 58.3 billion MR (about $19 billion)• http://www.tourism.gov. my/facts_figures/
Ecotourism• Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (The International Ecotourism Society, 1990)• http://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism
Principles of Ecotourism• Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:• Minimize impact.• Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.• Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.• Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.• Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.• Raise sensitivity to host countries political, environmental, and social climate.
Ecotourism• Conservation –Offering market-linked long-term solutions, ecotourism provides effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful planet
Ecotourism• Communities –By increasing local capacity building and employment opportunities, ecotourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development.
Ecotourism• Interpretation –With an emphasis on enriching personal experiences and environmental awareness through interpretation, ecotourism promotes greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture.
Sustainable Aspects• Growing organic fruits and vegetables or buying them locally certainly helps. This reduces dependency on petroleum used for transport and pesticides and lessens the amount of carbon emissions.• Our garden is all hand worked, which not only gives Jhon and Nacho a job but also eliminates the need for noisy, polluting, resource burning tractors or tillers, not to mention giving us all a chance for a great workout! Also, all kitchen wastes are composted and recycled back into the garden.• Having a spring that gravity feeds water down to the lodge and cabanas is not only convenient but also eliminates the necessity for a pump, not too mention providing clean, fresh, cool water.
Sustainable Aspects• We have also allowed most of El Monte’s Reserve to regrow sucking in a countless amount of CO2 while releasing O2. El Monte’s spin-off, the Mindo Biological Station (MBS), protects over 6,000 hectares of Primary Cloud Forest that holds a tremendous amount of CO2 and is part of the 19,200 hectare Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest.• Lighting for the main house comes from 2 solar panels (which we are also able to use to charge camera batteries and laptops), kerosene lanterns and candles. A micro hydro electrical system provides lights for the cabañas. Alternative energy is here!
Questions Every Dive Operator should Ask• "Is my operation improving the natural environment?• Does the local community benefit directly and indirectly?"
Wakatobi Dive Resort Actions• implements strict rules to minimize divers impact (all guests sign a dive conduct agreement), non-compliance leads to exclusion from diving without refund• installs and maintains moorings for dive operations• conducts reef monitoring and cleaning when needed, all dive guides are fully committed to contribute towards conservation• gives complete dive briefings by top notch senior dive instructors (with at least 2,000 dives) to enhance pleasure, increase knowledge, protect the marine environment• sponsors regular marine biology and ecology presentations in addition to discussing the resort conservation programs
Wakatobi Dive Resort Actions• offers village tours to further cultural understanding• cleans a 1 km stretch of beach every day• reduces, separates and recycles waste as much as possible• treats waste water in biological ways (microbiological decomposition under ideal conditions at 28 C/leach fields/other treatments to avoid nutrients entering the sea)• uses local traditional skills to build and maintain the resort, sells local products• provides full-time employment to a workforce of about 100 locals (with equivalent salaries for men and woman)
Other Things They Do• sponsoring electricity for the 500-person village on our resort island (including 2 km power line to the village, transformers, electrical installations in every house, providing 24 hrs maintenance team) in exchange for the villagers honoring a 3 km reef sanctuary on their traditional fishing grounds• sponsoring waste management in the surrounding villages on the neighboring island• sponsoring public moorings and harbor facilities to reduce anchor damage• sponsoring public projects for all 17 villages in our subdistrict (Collaborative Community-based Reef Management Program)• sponsoring schools with education materials• recognizing that the poorest need the most support to refrain from traditional but destructive practices such as reef gleaning. – For this reason, we employ up to 50 widows to produce natural roof tiles (made by sago palm leaves) for the resort buildings and we sponsor scholarships for orphans
Other Things They Do• sponsoring public sport events• sponsoring public awareness meetings about conservation issues and employing staff to socialize conservation programs in all villages• sponsoring a small credit scheme for small businesses to increase compliance• sponsoring patrols in the vicinity performed by representatives of the local communities• sponsoring reef patrols in the Wakatobi region conducted by police, military, and rangers
Collaborative Reef Conservation Program• The Collaborative Reef Conservation Program was designed to motivate the people living within the Wakatobi region to realize the intrinsic value of the reefs and to inspire the villages to take an active role in protecting the marine ecosystem.
Collaborative Reef Conservation Program• The program achieves this by providing an economic alternative to fishing and creates real incentives that help protect and manage the reefs. Cooperation between local fishermen and visiting divers is promoted by generating an income from tourism that is channeled directly back into the community.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge Kinabatangan River, Sabah Malaysia• All our efforts to upgrade our lodge and ensure the best experience has not been at the expense of the local community and environment.• Since 1995, various community and environment projects were carried out under our non profit division, Sukau Ecotourism Research and Development Centre (SERDC) and later under Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) since 2006 .• http://www.sukau.com/
Sukau Rainforest Lodge• These include weed clearing, supply of over 50 water tanks for the local community, wildlife rehabilitation, tree planting project(KWICORP) and medical projects among others.• To carry out these projects, we have since 2001 set aside US$1 for every international adult guest who stays at our lodge while our sister company, Borneo Eco Tours also contributed RM8.00 per tourist who stayed with us amounting to a total of RM50,000.00 per annum.• Most recently in 2009, we started collecting the Voluntary Conservation Levy (VCL) of RM 20 per guest for the WWF, to enhance conservative on the Kinabatangan.
Kinabatangan River• # of “eco-lodges” is increasing rapidly – Are they all offering quality “ecotourism” experiences or are they trying to make a quick buck?• Is this rapid increase in ecotourism good for the area??
Red Ape Trail Sabah, Malaysia• Trek through one of the worlds most diverse ecosystems; virgin rain forest and home to some of the most endangered species, including the orangutan.• We shall visit the authentic longhouses of our local Iban guides who will pass on their knowledge of wildlife spotting, and provide an insight into how modern Iban communities interact with the forest and its animal life.• Unlike other trails in Borneo we do not expect to encounter many other people, which certainly helps when searching for wild orangutans
Red Ape Trail• CNN article March 23, 2012 “Orangutans stressed by eco-tourists”• “Researchers from the University of Indiana and eco- tourism group Red Ape Encounters spent 14 years studying two apes in Sabah, Malaysia, which were used to seeing humans. By testing the animals feces they found that the orangutans stress levels were higher than normal the day after coming into contact with humans”• http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03- 23/asia/world_asia_eco-stressed-orangutan_1_eco- tourism-gorillas-orangutans?_s=PM:ASIA
Great Ape Tourism• “Muehlenbein is keen to point out that there was no indication from the study of any long term changes in behavior of the orangutans, as Red Ape Encounters limits the number of people on their tours to seven and the visits to one hour.• Yet pathological effects like impaired cognition, growth and reproduction could be a consequence of less sensitive wildlife tours, believes Muehlenbein.”
Great Ape Tourism• Best Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Tourism – IUCN – http://www.primate- sg.org/PDF/BP.tourism.english.pdf
Ecotourism in Lembeh Straits?• Over 10 separate dive operators in Lembeh Straits and only 30 distinct dive sites• Lots of divers• Irresponsible tour operators and divers (mostly photographers) can be harassing the animals – They say that Lemben Straits “is not as good as it used to be”
Ecotourism in the Prairie?• Texas is ranked as the 10th best state for ecotourism in the US (Alaska is #1) – Surprised? I was too, but just because everything is bigger and better in Texas, doesn’t mean it can’t be eco-friendlytoo. In fact, Texas is home to a number of eco-tour companies, like Eastex Canoe Trails, and plenty of ranches and resorts, like Canyon of the Eagles in Burnet. Even George Bush’s ranch is off-grid and eco-friendly – who’d have thought?! – Texas is also the best state for bird-watching, and some of the best bird-watching in the state can be found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The World Birding Center offers nine unique locations for bird- watching in this special place where two major flyways from Mexico converge on their way north.• http://www.mynatour.org/destination/top-10-ecotourism-states- usa
Ecotourism in the Prairie?• However, none of the 7 ecotourism resorts in Texas are located on in the prairie region of the state• http://www.resortsandlodges.com/resort- type/ecotourism-resorts/usa/texas/index.html
Trip to America’s Heartland Tallgrass Prairie• Spring is a delightful time to experience the tallgrass prairie wildflower and wetland wonders hidden deep in the heart of Kansas. We begin our journey in Wichita and head directly to Great Bend, where we will explore Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The combination of these two magnificent wetland areas is recognized as one of “The Eight Wonders of Kansas” because of their vital and international importance as a migratory stop for North American shorebirds and waterfowl!• http://www.naturalistjourneys.com/jcalendar/journal_KS2 010.htm
Chico Basin Ranch, Coloradohttp://www.chicobasinranch.com/index.cfm?id=67c8f9db-d1c8-4c6b-8562e3094336bbd0&home.htmlWatch the short intro video here
WWF Conservation Economics Program• WWF’s Conservation Economics Program is leading efforts to establish ecotourism in the Northern Great Plains to support wildlife conservation and invigorate local economies. A major component of the program is to have land managers, tribal leaders and policy makers from the Northern Great Plains learn from Namibian conservation models. Namibia, a country in Southern Africa, provides one of the most successful models globally both in terms of increasing wildlife numbers and bringing economic benefits to communities and land managers.• The goal of the ecotourism program is to apply knowledge and techniques from successful models in Namibia to the Northern Great Plains.• http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/ngp/projects.ht ml