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Measuring the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems: a multimethod approach

Description

This research assessed the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems in Nepal. The research was composed of three interrelated studies. The first study evaluated different approaches to protected area governance.

This research assessed the sustainability of protected area-based tourism systems in Nepal. The research was composed of three interrelated studies. The first study evaluated different approaches to protected area governance. This was a multiple-case study research involving three protected areas in Nepal: the Annapurna Conservation Area, Chitwan National Park, and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. Data were collected from various published and unpublished sources and supplemented with 55 face-to-face interviews. Results revealed that outcomes pertaining to biodiversity conservation, community livelihoods, and sustainable tourism vary across these protected areas. The study concluded that there is no institutional panacea for managing protected areas. The second study diagnosed the sustainability of tourism in two destination communities: Ghandruk and Sauraha, which are located within the Annapurna Conservation Area and Chitwan National Park, respectively. A systemic, holistic approach--the social-ecological system framework--was used to analyze the structures, processes, and outcomes of tourism development. Data collection involved 45 face-to-face semi-structured interviews and a review of published and unpublished documents. Results revealed that tourism has several positive and a few negative sociocultural, economic, and ecological outcomes in both communities. Overall, tourism has progressed towards sustainability in these destinations. The third study examined tourism stakeholders' perspectives regarding sustainable tourism outcomes in protected areas. The study compared the responses of residents with residents, as well as tourists with tourists, across the Annapurna Conservation Area and Chitwan National Park. Tourism sustainability was evaluated with six tourism impact subscales measuring negative and positive ecological, economic, and social impacts. Data were collected using the survey method. Respondents included 230 residents and 205 tourists in Annapurna, and 220 residents and 210 tourists in Chitwan. The findings revealed that the residents across these protected areas perceived positive and negative impacts differently, as did the tourists, suggesting that the form of tourism development affects the sustainability outcomes in protected areas. Overall, this research concluded that protected areas and tourism are intricately related, and sustainable management of a protected area-based tourism system requires a polycentric adaptive approach that warrants a broad participation of relevant stakeholders.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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NGOs in the global conservation movement: can they prevent extinction? : (African apes as an example)

Description

Development throughout the course of history has traditionally resulted in the demise of biodiversity. As humans strive to develop their daily livelihoods, it is often at the expense of nearby

Development throughout the course of history has traditionally resulted in the demise of biodiversity. As humans strive to develop their daily livelihoods, it is often at the expense of nearby wildlife and the environment. Conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among other actors in the global agenda, have blossomed in the past century with the realization that there is an immediate need for conservation action. Unlike government agencies, conservation NGOs have an independent, potentially more objective outlook on procedures and policies that would benefit certain regions or certain species the most. They often have national and international government support, in addition to the credibility and influencing power to sway policy decisions and participate in international agendas. The key to their success lies in the ability to balance conservation efforts with socioeconomic development efforts. One cannot occur without the other, but they must work in coordination. This study looks at the example of African Great Apes. Eight ape-focused NGOs and three unique case studies will be examined in order to describe the impact that NGOs have. Most of these NGOs have been able to build the capacity from an initial conservation agenda, to incorporating socioeconomic factors that benefit the development of local communities in addition to the apes and habitat they set out to influence. This being the case, initiatives by conservation NGOs could be the key to a sustainable future in which humans and biodiversity coexist harmoniously.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Evaluating the Use of Surrogates of Marine Mammal Species Representation in Biodiversity Conservation Planning

Description

Biodiversity is required to guarantee proper ecosystem structure and function. However, increasing anthropogenic threats are causing biodiversity loss around the world at an unprecedented rate, in what has been deemed

Biodiversity is required to guarantee proper ecosystem structure and function. However, increasing anthropogenic threats are causing biodiversity loss around the world at an unprecedented rate, in what has been deemed the sixth mass extinction. To counteract this crisis, conservationists seek to improve the methods used in the design and implementation of protected areas, which help mitigate the impacts of human activities on species. Marine mammals are ecosystem engineers and important indicator species of ocean and human wellbeing. They are also disproportionally less known and more threatened than terrestrial mammals. Therefore, surrogates of biodiversity must be used to maximize their representation in conservation planning. Some of the most effective surrogates of biodiversity known have only been tested in terrestrial systems. Here I test complementarity, rarity, and environmental diversity as potential surrogates of marine mammal representation at the global scale, and compare their performance against species richness, which is the most popular surrogate used to date. I also present the first map of marine mammal complementarity, and assess its relationship with environmental variables to determine if environmental factors could also be used as surrogates. Lastly, I determine the global complementarity-based hotspots of marine mammal biodiversity, and compare their distributions against current marine protected area coverage and exposure to global indices of human threats, to elucidate the effectiveness of current conservation efforts. Results show that complementarity, rarity, and environmental diversity are all efficient surrogates, as they outcompete species richness in maximizing marine mammal species representation when solving the minimum-set coverage problem. Results also show that sea surface temperature, density, and bathymetry are the top environmental variables most associated with complementarity of marine mammals. Finally, gap analyses show that marine mammals are overall poorly protected, yet moderately exposed to hotspots of cumulative human impacts. The wide distribution of marine mammals justify global studies like the ones here presented, to determine the best strategy for their protection. Overall, my findings show that less popular surrogates of biodiversity are more effective for marine mammals and should be considered in their management, and that the expansion of protected areas in their most important habitats should be prioritized.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Plant ecology of arid-land wetlands: a watershed moment for ciénega conservation

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It’s no secret that wetlands have dramatically declined in the arid and semiarid American West, yet the small number of wetlands that persist provide vital ecosystem services. Ciénega is a

It’s no secret that wetlands have dramatically declined in the arid and semiarid American West, yet the small number of wetlands that persist provide vital ecosystem services. Ciénega is a term that refers to a freshwater arid-land wetland. Today, even in areas where ciénegas are prominent they occupy less than 0.1% of the landscape. This investigation assesses the distribution of vascular plant species within and among ciénegas and address linkages between environmental factors and wetland plant communities. Specifically, I ask: 1) What is the range of variability among ciénegas, with respect to wetland area, soil organic matter, plant species richness, and species composition? 2) How is plant species richness influenced locally by soil moisture, soil salinity, and canopy cover, and regionally by elevation, flow gradient (percent slope), and temporally by season? And 3) Within ciénegas, how do soil moisture, soil salinity, and canopy cover influence plant species community composition? To answer these questions I measured environmental variables and quantified vegetation at six cienegas within the Santa Cruz Watershed in southern Arizona over one spring and two post-monsoon periods. Ciénegas are highly variable with respect to wetland area, soil organic matter, plant species richness, and species composition. Therefore, it is important to conserve the ciénega landscape as opposed to conserving a single ciénega. Plant species richness is influenced negatively by soil moisture, positively by soil salinity, elevation, and flow gradient (percent slope), and is greater during the post-monsoon season. Despite concerns about woody plant encroachment reducing biodiversity, my investigation suggests canopy cover has no significant influence on ciénega species richness. Plant species community composition is structured by water availability at all ciénegas, which is consistent with the key role water availability plays in arid and semiarid regions. Effects of canopy and salinity structuring community composition are site specific. My investigation has laid the groundwork for ciénega conservation by providing baseline information of the ecology of these unique and threatened systems. The high variability of ciénega wetlands and the rare species they harbor combined with the numerous threats against them and their isolated occurrences makes these vanishing communities high priority for conservation.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The role of environmental education for biodiversity conservation: a case study in the protected areas of Nepal

Description

Balancing conservation goals and needs of local residents is always challenging. While some believe protected areas are a safe paradise for wildlife, others suggest that it is shortsighted to ignore

Balancing conservation goals and needs of local residents is always challenging. While some believe protected areas are a safe paradise for wildlife, others suggest that it is shortsighted to ignore the social and economic challenges faced by people who live adjacent to protected areas when addressing conservation objectives. This dissertation explores the link between biodiversity conservation and environmental education programs (EEPs) administered to residents of buffer zones adjacent to three protected areas in the Terai Arc Landscape, Nepal. Using surveys and interviews, this study examined 1) the influence of EEPs on attitudes of local people toward biodiversity conservation; 2) the influence of EEPs on conservation behavior; 3) the responses toward biodiversity conservation of local people residing in buffer zones who have received different levels of EEPs; and 4) the effect of EEPs on wildlife populations within adjacent protected areas. Local people who had participated in EEPs and attended school were more likely to express a positive attitude toward conservation goals than participants who had not participated in EEPs or had the opportunity to attend school. Participation in EEPs and level of education favored expressed behavior toward conservation goals, such as making contributions for conservation or supporting anti-poaching patrols. However, EEP participants and non-participants were equally likely to engage in activities that were at odds with positive conservation behavior, such as collecting fuel wood or killing wildlife to protect their farm or feed their families. A direct comparison of EEPs given by schools versus non-government organizations showed that EEPs were largely ineffective in promoting positive conservation attitudes and behaviors. Despite heavy poaching of charismatic species such as the greater one-horned rhinoceros or tiger over past decades, Nepal recently celebrated ‘zero poaching years’ in 2011 and 2013, largely due to increased anti-poaching enforcement. The relationship between EEPs and the decline in poaching is unclear, although local officials all claimed that EEPs played an important role. These results indicate that current administration of EEPs in Terai buffer zone communities is inadequate, while also providing evidence that properly administrated EEPs may become a valuable investment for these protected areas to achieve long-term success.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015