(Source: Planet Ark Web site: www.planetark.org/cartons4treeshome.cfm)
Ecotourism is a high growth area within tourism and a new platform for enhancing the competitive strength of regions as international destinations. Because of its implied reliance on good quality environments, ecotourism has even been considered by worldwide organizations as the industry that will lead the world into sustainable development. A value-added tax (VAT) on the consumption of nature-based business goods and services, exempting those consumer items and activities most sought by low-income populations, could be used to finance the transition of a region's neediest to a better quality of life and in turn a more amenable setting to further enhance economic development in the region. By imposing a targeted, value-added tax used exclusively to build infrastructure and finance other community development actions that improve the lives of disproportionately impacted populations, a closed loop is created between the market economy, the importance of good quality environmental resources, and low-income populations, thereby creating the nexus of sustainable development and equity.Examples of this taxing idea exist in Spain and the United States.(Source: Sustainability Review, issue 2, September 1999.)
Tourism and recreation are the second largest user of forest resources in Europe (after timber production) and are usually considered as an element of sustainable management of forests to compromise between conservation of the forest biodiversity and economic outputs. The quiet enjoyment of the countryside, and woodlands and forests as part of it, has been long promoted within European countries, although this has been mostly limited to designated conservation areas. Yet forests producing timber but also other products are at present being targeted for improved management of their resources, and the forestry industry is increasingly being pressurized to meet certain environmental management standards. Tourism and recreation are one possible way in which forests can raise revenues to pay for the higher costs of sustainable forest management; yet the management of tourism and recreation will have environmental impacts of its own that will need managing.
The European Commission has funded a three-year project to develop a new award to promote well-managed tourism and recreation in forests, based on the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS). This project has developed an easy-to-implement EMS for forest managers that want to introduce tourism and recreation as part of multifunctional forest management. This EMS has been proposed as the backbone of a new European award to recognize good environmental practice in visitor management.
The development of the award and EMS has been carried out in consultation and partnership with individuals and organizations from the forestry, environment and tourism sectors. The EMS has been piloted in the United Kingdom, Finland and Portugal and sites include Swinley Forest, which is part of the Crown Estate at Windsor (UK); the Forest of Mercia, a community forest (UK); and Tapada nacional de Mafra, a nature park (Portugal). Recreation is important to these sites financially and as a policy commitment. Proactive management with long-term direction is needed to reduce conflict between other aspects of a multiuse forest and to sustain the environment for conservation and future enjoyment. The project is now developing partnerships to take the award proposals and expand them into a fully coordinated European scheme.
(Contributed by: Ms Karen Yale and Mr Xavier Font, Buckinghamshire University College, UK.)
For more information, please
contact: Ms Karen Yale, Tourfor Research Assistant, Buckinghamshire University
College, Wellesbourne Campus, Kingshill Road, High Wycombe, HP13 5BB, UK.Fax:
Environmental management of
rural tourism and recreation
(Source: Tribe, J., Font, X., Griffiths, N., Vickery, R. & Yale, K. 2000. Environmental management of rural tourism and recreation, London, Cassell. 160 pp.)
Forest tourism and
recreation: case studies in environmental management
(Source: Font, X., & Tribe, J. [eds] 2000. Forest tourism and recreation: case studies in environmental management, Wallingford, CAB International. 304 pp.)
This new publication from the Rethinking Tourism Project (RTP) was published in November 1999 and distributed in Seattle at the WTO meetings. An electronic version is available at the following address:
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has begun a new project to design a regional trail network linking the protected areas of Central America, with support from the Government of the Netherlands and the World Bank. Through participatory workshops in each of the seven Central American nations, input will be sought from governments, NGOs, tour operators, and outdoor enthusiasts on priorities for improving existing trails and linking trail networks within and between countries, from Guatemala to Panama. The first phase of the project will conclude in February 2000 with production of an action strategy for consolidating the region's trail network, and submission of proposals to international funding agencies for support of its implementation.
The eventual aim is to develop several long distance international hiking trails from north to south, and Pacific to Atlantic, across the breadth and width of the Central American isthmus. Biking trails and water routes for kayak and canoe travel will also be identified. The multi-modal trail system will enhance access and visitor facilities for Central American protected areas and cultural monuments. Many of the region's parks and reserves lack even basic infrastructure needed to attract local and international tourists, to promote scientific research, and to serve as living laboratories for environmental education efforts. The trail system will also increase revenue for park management authorities, and will help generate employment and enhance income for impoverished communities in remote areas near parks. Emulating the strategies used to develop long distance trails in North America, the intent will be to build and maintain the trail system one segment at a time. This will entail relying on local grassroots organizations, volunteer networks and park management authorities to improve trail infrastructure within existing protected areas and later to link trails across the landscape. The Mesoamerican Trail Project is designed to contribute to the consolidation of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), an ambitious effort to unite Central American natural areas into a seven-nation network and to unite conservation and sustainable use objectives. MBC objectives include taking into account conservation and development interests, bolstering protected area and buffer zone management and, through improved stewardship of private and tribal lands which link parks and reserves, the establishment of greenways and corridors across the landscape. The Mesoamerican Trail Project would further the objectives of this important regional initiative.
more information, please contact: Mr Jim Barborak, Mesoamerican and Caribbean
The Wildlife Conservation Society, 4424 NW 13th St., Suite A-2, Gainesville, FL 32605, USA.
World Bank Web page covering
this project: click here
Proyecto Senderos Mesoamericanos: www.mesosenderos.org
We should all bear in mind that the greatest glory of living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time you fall.