Ecotourism as a conservation tool and its adoption by private protected areas in Brazil
Ecotourism in private reserves combines the establishment of protected areas with an incentive mechanism to conserve biodiversity. Brazil's private reserve system is well-established but little is known about its links to tourism. This study puts the global private protected area into context and quantifies the extent to which ecotourism has been adopted as a sustainable land-use practice on private reserves in Brazil. Our findings demonstrate that small reserves do contribute to conservation and are used for ecotourism. The belief that large reserves are necessary for ecotourism and conservation is challenged. Only 4% (n = 45) of the 1182 reserves are engaged in ecotourism, mainly those within the Atlantic Forest biome and these are generally small in size (<50 ha). Reserves provide modest to basic accommodation as well as education and economic opportunities that include adjacent communities. Hiking and bird watching are the most popular activities but many reserves are threatened by poaching and invasive species. The low adoption of ecotourism appears due to a combination of factors, including lack of landowner interest, constraints imposed by regulations, logistics and anthropogenic threats. Nonetheless, there is potential to expand ecotourism within private reserves as 143 further private reserves are located near those already engaged in ecotourism.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Conservation and Biodiversity
Impacts of Tourism