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Therya

versión On-line ISSN 2007-3364

Resumen

CHEUNG, Hubert. Ecotourism as a multidisciplinary conservation approach in Africa. Therya [online]. 2015, vol.6, n.1, pp.31-41. ISSN 2007-3364.  http://dx.doi.org/10.12933/therya-15-243.

INTRODUCTION:

Conservation biology addresses complex issues that require multidisciplinary solutions capable of addresing various ecological, social, cultural, economic, political and legal aspects. Compromises between biodiversity conservation and human development are inevitable given societal demands and funding constraints. Ecotourism has the potential to provide local stakeholders with socioeconomic benefits while achieving conservation objectives. Reported here is an expansion to a cost-benefit analysis of tourism in Kenya's national parks that explored issues and potential improvements to maximize benefits and minimize costs. Issues raised in this analysis are explored in the wider context of conservation in Africa. In particular, conservation in Africa would benefit from a greater involvement of local community stakeholders in ecotourism decision making, the development of tourist interest in a wider range of wildlife, and a wider application of adaptive management principles.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Local communities as major conservation stakeholders. This section explores and emphasizes the importance of local communities as major stakeholders in conservation. In order for ecotourism to balance conservation and development objectives, local community stakeholders must be able to equitably share in socioeconomic benefits. Their engagement, involvement and empowerment is critical to the success of ecotourism as a multidisciplinary conservation approach.

Conservation prioritization and ecotourism diversification. This section discusses the need for ecotourism across the African continent to diversify beyond the traditional "Big Five". Expanding the viewing preferences and interests of different visitors can help draw attention and funding to less iconic species to achieve greater overall biodiversity conservation.

Monitoring and adaptive management. This section stresses the importance of scientific research and understanding to conservation objectives. Data need to be gathered systematically in ongoing monitoring and evaluation to facilitate adaptive management.

Palabras llave : Adaptive management; Africa; conservation; cost-benefit analysis; ecotourism; local community; monitoring; stakeholder engagement; tourism diversification.

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