|Ecotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)|
|4. OUTLOOK: ISSUES, TRENDS, IMPLICATIONS, AND OPTIONS|
Issue/trend: There is a global tendency for protected area staff to be trained in the natural sciences, particularly biology or ecology. However, it has become clear that the challenges natural area managers face often are more social and political than ecological and technical, and it is likely that future challenges also will be significantly social/political in nature (World Bank 1997). As noted by Fazio and Gilbert (1986), natural resource management is 90% managing the public and 10% managing the resource. In particular, ecotourism has a technical ecological component (e.g., its environmental impact), but it also has a significant social and political component.
Due to their training, and associated world view, it is natural for ecologically-oriented staff to seek technical solutions to problems that are at least partly socio-political. The focus on carrying capacity is an example of this. Likewise, planning and management tends to focus on the natural environment rather than on the human environment, and on visitation in particular.
In addition, often it is difficult for natural area staff to work effectively with tourism professionals, who typically have very different training, priorities, and personalities. As a result, it is difficult to develop the trust and personal relationships that contribute to effective cooperation. Lastly, often it is difficult for staff to work effectively with local communities.
Options: As part of the skill enhancement noted in Section 4.5, there may be a focus on developing and/or recruiting social science skills amongst natural area staff. An increased focus on social issues and corresponding staff skills will enhance the ability of natural area managers to respond effectively to ecotourism and broader conservation challenges.