Ecotourism and Conservation: Two Cases from Brazil and Peru
This article evaluates two theories to explain the relationship between ecotourism and conservation. One posits that economic benefits must accrue to local communities for ecotourism to result in conservation; the other holds that social benefits, including participation in management, must also be present. Although these ideas about causal mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, scholarly studies tend to reflect one more than the other. Two ecotourism projects from Brazil and Peru are compared. The Brazil study illustrates sea turtle ecotourism that generates economic benefits for coastal communities. The case in Peru also generates economic benefits for a local community, but has the added goal of building local management capacity. Both cases provide empirical evidence for causal mechanisms linking ecotourism with conservation. In the Brazil case, economic benefits alone seem to account for conservation outcomes. In Peru, local participation in ecotourism management has also sparked collective action for conservation.
Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Conservation and Biodiversity