Ecological Consequences of Ecotourism for Wildlife Populations and Communities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Graeme Shannon
  • Courtney L. Larson
    Colorado State University
  • S.E. Reed
    Colorado State University
  • K.R. Krooks
    Colorado State University
  • L.M. Angeloni
    Colorado State University
Ecotourism is often considered highly compatible with conservation efforts
because it generates revenue through the nonconsumptive use of wildlife (in
contrast to, e.g., fishing and hunting), while helping to foster a conservation
ethic among participants. However, it is becoming clear that human presence
in natural areas is not without short or long-term costs. Evidence suggests that
human presence does not only cause disturbance to the behavior of animals in
the short term but may well have population and ecological level consequences
that affect survival, reproductive success, and the structure of ecological
communities. Tourists can also impact populations of wild animals as a result
of direct mortality (e.g., vehicle strike), by providing food to attract charismatic
species that can alter the long-term distribution and social structure of
populations, by degrading crucial habitats through infrastructure development
and pollution, by introducing non-native species that displace native taxa,
and by transmitting infectious diseases. Research on the impacts associated
with ecotourism has grown rapidly during the past decade, which has greatly
improved our knowledge of the complex relationships between disturbance
and the potential ecological costs for different wildlife species. Understanding
and mitigating these impacts is particularly important for conserving species
that are rare, geographically isolated, and/or sensitive to disturbance while also
enabling a sustainable ecotourism industry to thrive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcotourism’s Promise and Peril
EditorsDaniel T. Blumstein, Benjamin Geoffrey, Diogo S.M. Samia, Eduardo Bessa
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-58331-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-58330-3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2017
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