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Trade-offs in nature tourism: contrasting parcel-level decisions with landscape conservation planning

Karen E Allen, University of Georgia


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A challenge for landscape planning is to understand how trade-offs are differently negotiated across privately held parcels and how economic incentives for conservation affect these trade-offs. I used the efficiency frontier framework to explore the trade-offs associated with the nature tourism industry, an economic incentive for conservation, in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I modeled regional changes in forest cover from 1985 through 2009, dates that coincide with the boom in the nature tourism industry. Interview data were used to understand the social context of these forest cover changes and the negotiation of trade-offs from the perspective of individual parcel owners. The results suggest that nature tourism can provide a win-win conservation scenario on individual parcels in which livelihood opportunities coincide with forest regrowth. However, nature tourism has the potential to introduce market feedback that can both complicate livelihood sustainability and hinder multiple ecosystem service provisioning.

Key words

ecosystem services; efficiency frontier; nature tourism; trade-offs

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087