The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines ecotourism as: "Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples."
When executed correctly, ecotourism can generate multiple benefits such as securing funds for conservation, providing sustainable means for economic development of local communities, or fostering environmental awareness in travelers from their experiences.
Ecotourism strives to have minimal impact on the environment, cultivate an understanding and appreciation of local cultures and biodiversity, generate social, economic and environmental benefits, and include locals in decision-making processes. Yet, when tourism to natural areas does not comply with ecotourism criteria, the impacts can be far from beneficial. No limit on the number of tourists, no restrictions on activities or too much development can cause the demise of a once pristine natural environment and therefore its value as natural asset.
Land-based tourism is a major economic activity in Africa, drawing millions of visitors to different sites across the region every year and generating millions of dollars in...
Fall Colors 2011Last Updated on 2011-09-20 00:00:00USDA Forest Service launches expanded
Fall Colors 2011 website
Hotline provides information for peak viewing and trip planning
Fall Colors 2011 is underway with the U.S. Forest Service leading the charge to urge people to get outdoors, spend time in rural communities, and enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular seasons.
“Fall is a special time when nature’s work transforms our landscapes into a natural patchwork of vibrant hues,” said Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. “Because the Forest Service is the national source for tree expertise, we are ready to help Americans plan their trips and appreciate the incredible show.” For many rural communities, leaf peeping is a major source of revenue. Hotels, restaurants and local shops rely on the influx of dollars generated by the fall visitors.
From coast to coast,... More »
Ecotourism in Sabah, MalaysiaLast Updated on 2010-05-25 00:00:00
This article was researched and written by a student at Texas Tech University participating in the Encyclopedia of Earth's (EoE) Student Science Communication Project. The project encourages students in undergraduate and graduate programs to write about timely scientific issues under close faculty guidance. All articles have been reviewed by internal EoE editors, and by independent experts on each topic.
Sabah provides a wealth of opportunity for those seeking outdoor adventure or exploration; in the words of Dr. Ong Puay LIue of the University Kebangsaan, Malaysia: “Malaysia, and especially Sabah, have much to offer to people who appreciate nature, culture, adventure, history. Sabah is a microcosm of what there is on Earth – you want mountains, there are mountains. Valleys, islands, forest, wildlife, flora,... More »
Sabah, MalaysiaLast Updated on 2010-05-04 00:00:00This article was researched and written by a student at Texas Tech University participating in the Encyclopedia of Earth's (EoE) Student Science Communication Project. The project encourages students in undergraduate and graduate programs to write about timely scientific issues under close faculty guidance. All articles have been reviewed by internal EoE editors, and by independent experts on each topic.
Sabah is the easternmost state of Malaysia; located on the northeastern tip of the island of Borneo, it is one of two Malaysian states on the island. Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia, next to neighboring Sarawak which eclipses Sabah in geographic size (to help keep this in perpspective, however, the entire nation of Malaysia consists of a land area slightly larger than the US state of New Mexico). A tropical state with a great ecological wealth,... More »
Galápagos National Park & Galápagos Marine Resources Reserve, EcuadorLast Updated on 2009-10-22 17:09:25
The Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve (1°40'N -1°36'S, 89°14' - 92°01'W) is a World Heritage Site, isolated in the Pacific Ocean 800-1,100 kilometers (km) west of Ecuador at the confluence of several ocean currents, cold and warm. These volcanic islands and the surrounding seas are the largest, most diverse almost pristine archipelago remaining in the world, a natural museum of geological, ecological and evolutionary processes. Their varied climates and extreme isolation, have produced one of the world's highest concentrations of endemic species ]including unusual animals such as the land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises and the many types of finch that inspired Darwin's theory of evolution following his visit in 1835. One-third of the archipelago's vascular... More »
IUCN Protected Area CategoriesLast Updated on 2009-10-13 00:00:00
The World Conservation Union (IUCN ) protected area management categories classify protected areas according to their management objectives. The categories are recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and by many national governments as the global standard for defining and recording protected areas and as such are increasingly being incorporated into government legislation.
IUCN Protected Areas Categories System
Ia Strict Nature Reserve
Category Ia are strictly protected areas set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly geological/geomorphical features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas can serve as indispensable reference... More »
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