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Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2021) | Viewed by 21986

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Society and Conservation, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA
Interests: nature-based tourism; ecotourism; community development; international conservation and development; geographies of tourism; GIS
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Society and Conservation, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, MT 59812, USA
Interests: nature-based tourism; sustainable tourism; ecotourism; protected areas

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

We invite you to contribute to an upcoming Special Issue of the open-access journal Sustainability. This Special Issue is being guest-edited by Keith Bosak and Steve McCool. The deadline for manuscript submissions is January 31, 2021. 

Our aim is to compile a Special Issue that highlights research on recent trends in nature-based tourism, protected areas, and sustainability. Nature-based tourism is a growing segment of the tourism market and one that is often dependent on the natural attractions found in and around protected areas. Nature-based tourism can also be an economic driver for gateway communities. However, increasing visitation and associated impacts can threaten the ability of protected areas to manage visitation and protect natural resources. Surrounding communities can be inundated with visitors, threatening the integrity of local cultures. Conversely, protected areas and local communities can become economically dependent on income generated from nature-based tourism and a decline in visitation can prove detrimental to conservation and local economies. At a larger scale, rapid environmental, social, and technological change increase complexity and create conditions that impact nature-based tourism in and around protected areas. Sustainability is key to the long-term health of nature-based tourism and the places where it occurs. Therefore, we seek papers that address the complexities of maintaining resilient and sustainable protected areas and local communities in the context of a turbulent and complex world. Papers can address emerging trends, provide innovative methodological approaches, and/or challenge current assumptions in thinking about nature-based tourism, protected areas, and sustainability. 

Topics may include: 

  • emerging trends in nature-based tourism and protected areas (event tourism, adventure racing, health and wellness tourism, new technologies, changing demographics, motivations and preferences);
  • interactions between nature-based tourism, communities, and protected areas;
  • governance and adaptation;
  • planning and management of protected areas for nature-based tourism and sustainability;
  • responses to environmental, social, and economic change and disturbance;
  • indigenous approaches to conservation and nature-based tourism development;
  • social–ecological systems and resilience thinking; and
  • innovative approaches to management and use of technology. 
Prof. Dr. Keith Bosak
Prof. Dr. Stephen F. McCool
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nature-based tourism
  • ecotourism
  • sustainable tourism
  • protected areas

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1023 KiB  
Article
Improving Governance Systems of National Parks: How the Instrument of a ‘Governance Scan’ Can Contribute
by Jasper Hessel Heslinga and Stefan Hartman
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10811; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910811 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2140
Abstract
This paper presents a diagnostics tool that we refer to as a ‘governance scan’ and discusses how this tool can contribute to improving governance systems of National Parks. This governance scan combines an analytical framework and an approach to have better understanding of [...] Read more.
This paper presents a diagnostics tool that we refer to as a ‘governance scan’ and discusses how this tool can contribute to improving governance systems of National Parks. This governance scan combines an analytical framework and an approach to have better understanding of these governance systems. Understanding how National Parks are managed is crucial to achieve improvements and steer towards more sustainable future situations. Governance systems are a fundamental aspect of this, being understood as “associational networks of public, private, civil society actors and how they engage in the making, setting and implementation of rules at various geographical scales”. How these systems are organized and function in practice can greatly shape conservation and development outcomes and hence future states of National Parks. The purpose of this paper is to; (1) elaborate on how this scan is rooted in the literature to explain its theoretical foundation and (2) step-by-step instruct how it is made applicable to use in practice. As an illustrative example, we discuss lessons learned from the application of the governance scan in the real-life context of the recently established ‘New Land’ National Park, located in The Netherlands. We conclude that the scan works as a diagnostics tool, to provide an overview of governance systems in place, facilitate knowledge transfer and discussions among different stakeholders, and set priorities in decision-making processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 1784 KiB  
Article
Advancing Sustainable Development and Protected Area Management with Social Media-Based Tourism Data
by Katie K. Arkema, David M. Fisher, Katherine Wyatt, Spencer A. Wood and Hanna J. Payne
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052427 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 5073
Abstract
Sustainable tourism involves increasingly attracting visitors while preserving the natural capital of a destination for future generations. To foster tourism while protecting sensitive environments, coastal managers, tourism operators, and other decision-makers benefit from information about where tourists go and which aspects of the [...] Read more.
Sustainable tourism involves increasingly attracting visitors while preserving the natural capital of a destination for future generations. To foster tourism while protecting sensitive environments, coastal managers, tourism operators, and other decision-makers benefit from information about where tourists go and which aspects of the natural and built environment draw them to particular locations. Yet this information is often lacking at management-relevant scales and in remote places. We tested and applied methods using social media as data on tourism in The Bahamas. We found that visitation, as measured by numbers of geolocated photographs, is well correlated with counts of visitors from entrance surveys for islands and parks. Using this relationship, we predicted nearly 4 K visitor-days to the network of Bahamian marine protected areas annually, with visitation varying more than 20-fold between the most and least visited parks. Next, to understand spatial patterns of tourism for sustainable development, we combined social media-based data with entrance surveys for Andros, the largest island in The Bahamas. We estimated that tourists spend 125 K visitor-nights and more than US$45 M in the most highly visited district, five times that of the least visited district. We also found that tourists prefer accessible, natural landscapes—such as reefs near lodges—that can be reached by air, roads, and ferries. The results of our study are being used to inform development and conservation decisions, such as where to invest in infrastructure for visitor access and accommodation, siting new marine protected areas, and management of established protected areas. Our work provides an important example of how to leverage social media as a source of data to inform strategies that encourage tourism, while conserving the environments that draw visitors to a destination in the first place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability)
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29 pages, 7060 KiB  
Article
Alternative Tourism and Environmental Impacts: Perception of Residents of an Extractive Reserve in the Brazilian Amazonia
by Heloise Michelle Nunes Medeiros, Quêzia Leandro de Moura Guerreiro, Thiago Almeida Vieira, Sandra Maria Sousa da Silva, Ana Isabel da Silva Aço Renda and José Max Barbosa Oliveira-Junior
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042076 - 15 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4812
Abstract
Alternative tourism (AT) contributes to conservation, valuing the environment and recipient cultures with minimal impact, especially in protected areas. In this context, this article identified, considering the residents’ perception, the possible environmental impacts resulting from alternative tourism in communities of the Tapajós-Arapiuns Extractive [...] Read more.
Alternative tourism (AT) contributes to conservation, valuing the environment and recipient cultures with minimal impact, especially in protected areas. In this context, this article identified, considering the residents’ perception, the possible environmental impacts resulting from alternative tourism in communities of the Tapajós-Arapiuns Extractive Reserve (RESEX), Brazilian Amazonia. Thus, between February and April 2019 a semi-structured interview was conducted with 122 residents of three communities of RESEX (Anã, Maripá, and São Miguel). The interview script was divided into three groups of questions: (i) interviewee data, (ii) socioeconomic data, and (iii) perception of the concept and environmental impacts of alternative tourism. We used a snowball sampling method, which consists of a form of a non-probabilistic sample. The majority (91.8%) of the informants did not know how to explain the concept of alternative tourism; however, for 87.7% of them, this tourism does not generate negative impacts. Income is the most used expression (53%) by RESEX residents to demonstrate what alternative tourism positively impacts. About 74.6% of respondents reported that tourists do not influence local customs change, and 94.3% do not identify tourism-related violence. Finally, 89.3% say that tourists do not pollute the environments. The research carried out in this Conservation Unit deserves the attention of decision-makers, managers, technicians, and researchers. It provides subsidies for management programs to provide real bases for the analysis, interpretation, and planning of sustainable tourist spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability)
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8 pages, 919 KiB  
Article
No Limits of Acceptable Change: A Proposed Research Framework for Informing Visitor Use Management in the Context of Cultural Resources
by Zachary D. Miller, Wayne Freimund, Stefani A. Crabtree and Ethan P. Ryan
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010377 - 4 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2630
Abstract
Cultural resources are commonly defined as resources that provide material evidence of past human activities. These resources are unique, as they are both finite and non-renewable. This provides a challenge for traditional visitor use management since these resources have no limits of acceptable [...] Read more.
Cultural resources are commonly defined as resources that provide material evidence of past human activities. These resources are unique, as they are both finite and non-renewable. This provides a challenge for traditional visitor use management since these resources have no limits of acceptable change. However, with nearly every national park in the US containing cultural resources, coupled with ever-growing visitation, it is essential that managers of parks and protected areas have the ability to make science-informed decisions about cultural resources in the context of visitor use management. We propose a framework that can help provide context and exploration for these challenges. Drawing on previous literature, this framework includes risk-based approaches to decision making about visitor use; visitor cognitions related to cultural resources; emotions, mood, and affect related to cultural resource experiences; creating and evaluating interpretive programs; deviant visitor behaviors related to cultural resources; and co-management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability)
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Review

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10 pages, 1228 KiB  
Review
Framework for Sustainable Recovery of Tourism in Protected Areas
by Hasita Bhammar, Wendy Li, Christel Maria Moller Molina, Valerie Hickey, Jo Pendry and Urvashi Narain
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2798; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052798 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 5979
Abstract
Tourism in protected areas was a fast-growing segment within the global travel and tourism industry prior to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a development pathway, tourism generated foreign exchange for countries endowed with natural assets (protected areas, pristine landscapes, forests, [...] Read more.
Tourism in protected areas was a fast-growing segment within the global travel and tourism industry prior to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a development pathway, tourism generated foreign exchange for countries endowed with natural assets (protected areas, pristine landscapes, forests, oceans, wildlife), contributed to conservation revenues, and provided local development benefits for communities. However, the spread of COVID-19 and its associated travel restrictions severely impacted this sector. In this review, we describe the main challenges preventing the sector from achieving its development potential. We propose a framework to steer tourism in protected areas as a green recovery initiative, so that it may rebound sustainably and continue to support biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Tourism, Protected Areas, and Sustainability)
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