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close this bookEcotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)
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Open this folder and view contents4.1 Preserving Services Derived from the Forest: Protected Area and Social Forestry Approaches
View the document4.2 Need for Increased Research and Utilization of Results
View the document4.3 Importance of Social Issues in Management
View the document4.4 Continued Funding Difficulties in Natural Areas
View the document4.5 Ecotourism Management: Low Level of Funding and Reliance on Simplistic Strategies Like Carrying Capacity
View the document4.6 Growth in International and Domestic Visitation
View the document4.7 Change in the Visitor Market
View the document4.8 Continued or Increased Competition, Particularly for International Visitors
View the document4.9 Importance of Interpretation
View the document4.10 Importance of Partnerships Among Ecotourism Actors
View the document4.11 Greater Private Sector Roles in Management of Natural Areas
View the document4.12 Pressure to Use Natural Areas for Activities that are Not Nature-Dependent
View the document4.13 Professionalization of Operators and Desire to Exclude Those Not Meeting Professional Criteria
View the document4.14 Tendency for Dominance by Larger Operators and Those Located in Regional or National Centres
View the document4.15 Summary of Issues, Trends, Implications, and Options

4.3 Importance of Social Issues in Management

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.