Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers give long look at who benefits from nature tourism

Date:
April 25, 2012
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Using nature's beauty as a tourist draw can boost conservation in China's valued panda preserves, but it isn't an automatic ticket out of poverty for the human inhabitants, a unique long-term study shows.

Tourists view pandas in the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China.
Credit: Wei Liu, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University

Using nature's beauty as a tourist draw can boost conservation in China's valued panda preserves, but it isn't an automatic ticket out of poverty for the human habitants, a unique long-term study shows.

Related Articles


The policy hitch: Often those who benefit most from nature-based tourism endeavors are people who already have resources. The truly impoverished have a harder time breaking into the tourism business.

Wei Liu's study, published in the April 25 edition of PLoS One, looks at nearly a decade of burgeoning tourism in the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China. China, like many areas in the world, is banking on tourism over farming to preserve fragile animal habitat while allowing people to thrive.

But until now, no one has taken a close look at the long-term implications for people economically.

Liu is a PhD student in the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University. He and his colleagues took advantage of the center's 15-year history of work in Wolong -- which they call the "excellent laboratory" -- to study the complex interactions of humans and nature.

"This study shows the power of having comprehensive long-term data to understand how everything works together," Liu said. "This is the first time we've been able to put it together to understand how changes are being made."

"Drivers and Socioeconomic Impacts of Tourism Participation in Protected Areas" is co-authored by Christine Vogt, professor of community, agriculture, recreation and resource studies; research associate Junyan Luo; Guangming He, research assistant; Kenneth Frank, professor of environmental and natural resources economics and fisheries and wildlife; and Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. All but Vogt are members of in CSIS, of which Jack Liu is director.

Wei Liu and his colleagues followed 220 families in Wolong from 1999 to 2007 as they rode the wave of change in an area shifting from farming to bringing in tourists who both want to see are land of the giant pandas as well as ecological beauty. That wave was abruptly stopped in 2008 with the massive earthquake whose damage to roads and buildings still impedes business development.

China, Wei Liu said, has a political structure that heavily favors social connections. The group studied the impact of having resources in Wolong. Already having money, being educated, having relationships with governmental officials greatly increased a person's chances of being successful in nature-based tourism.

Lacking these resources made it harder, which is significant since many of China's programs and initiatives aim to lift people out of poverty.

"The policies haven't yet reached their full potential," Wei Liu said. "But now we have the data to show what's happening.

An interesting piece of the research was learning that people who are engaged in tourism trade more likely to acknowledge the tradeoffs between tourism development and conservation. Wei said they acknowledged that tourism did increase noise, traffic congestion and disturbance to wildlife.

"People in tourism have a lot of knowledge of where tourists go in the wild and what they bring," Wei Liu said.

Wei Liu said this research can help China -- and others around the world -- with the next steps of policy to balance tourism with habitat management. The area is working hard to rebuild from the earthquake, just as other developing tourism areas are challenged by natural disasters. The study, he and his colleagues say, can point to opportunities to improve policies.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Jack Liu's research also is supported by MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Researchers give long look at who benefits from nature tourism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425193050.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2012, April 25). Researchers give long look at who benefits from nature tourism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425193050.htm
Michigan State University. "Researchers give long look at who benefits from nature tourism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425193050.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins