Posted by: Bob Payne | November 25, 2011

Three researchers in the Amazon clear up doubts as to the benefits of ecotourism

Ecological tourism has no effect on the presence of large mammals in the Amazon, according to a study that for the first time compares the biological diversity of ecotourism zones with that of protected areas. Furthermore, it can help to protect the biodiversity of areas that are not officially protected yet are vital in the ecological framework.

Since the UN began to promote ecological tourism at the end of the 1980’s as a way of protecting the environment without resorting to its economic exploitation, the debate as to whether ecotourism is really beneficial has remained alive.

Aiming to answer such questions, two Spanish researchers spent four months in the middle of the Amazon to assess the presence of large mammals in Bonanza, a private estate used for ecotourism within the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The results of their study show that not only is ecotourism harmless to the biological richness of the area but it could even have a positive effect on the biodiversity of surrounding areas.

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