Understanding spatial variation in the drivers of nature-based tourism and their influence on the sustainability of private land conservation

Baum, Julia, Cumming, Graeme S., and de Vos, Alta (2017) Understanding spatial variation in the drivers of nature-based tourism and their influence on the sustainability of private land conservation. Ecological Economics, 140. pp. 225-234.

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Protected areas connect socio-economic and ecological systems through their provision of ecosystem goods and services. Analysis of ecosystem services allows the expression of ecological benefits in economic terms. However, cultural services, such as recreation opportunities, have proved difficult to quantify. An important challenge for the analysis of cultural services is to understand the geography of service provision in relation to both human and ecological system elements. We used data on visitation rates and measures of context, content, connectivity, and location for 64 private land conservation areas (PLCAs) to better understand geographic influences on cultural service provision. Visitation to PLCAs was influenced by a combination of ecological and socio-economic drivers. Variance partitioning analysis showed that ecology explained the largest proportion of overall variation in visitation rates (26%), followed.by location (22%). In tests using generalized linear mixed models, individual factors that significantly explained visitation rates included the number of mammal species, the number of Big 5-species (ecological variables), the number of facilities provided (infrastructure) and average accommodation charges (affordability). Our analysis has important implications for the economic sustainability of PLCAs and more generally for understanding the relevance of spatial variation for analyses of cultural services.

Item ID: 50669
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6106
Keywords: ecotourism, nature-based tourism, social-ecological systems, private land conservation, private protected areas, South Africa, cultural ecosystem services
Funders: James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF), DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute
Projects and Grants: JSMF Complexity Scholar award
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:57
FoR Codes: 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900301 Economic Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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