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Impacts of Ecotourism in Biodiversity Hotspots – What is the Empirical Evidence?

The Project

Ecotourism is growing rapidly in biodiversity hotspots because of its promise to achieve both economic growth and environmental conservation. However, there is limited, and mixed, empirical evidence supporting the assertion that ecotourism has positive biodiversity impacts. We are conducting empirical research based on counterfactual analysis, time-series, and literature review to assess the conservation success associated with this rapidly-growing economic development strategy.

Ecotourism has been implemented widely across the Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot, where old-growth forests still exist but continue to be logged. We conducted a counterfactual analysis of deforestation in 15 ecotourism hubs across four Himalayan countries to determine how much ecotourism development influences deforestation rates. Our results (below find link to manuscript in Conservation Biology) were intriguing.

The Team

Jodi Brandt, Boise State University
Anand Roopsind, Boise State University

Ralf Buckley, Griffith University
Volker Radeloff, University of Wisconsin
Teri Allendorf, University of Wisconsin
Van Butsic, University of California-Berkeley

The Products (Scholarworks)

Brandt, J. S., Radeloff, V. , Allendorf, T. , Butsic, V. and Roopsind, A. (2019), Effects of ecotourism on forest loss in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot based on counterfactual analyses. Conservation Biology. doi:

Brandt, J. S., and R. C. Buckley. 2018. A global systematic review of empirical evidence of ecotourism impacts on forests in biodiversity hotspots. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 32:112-118.

Brandt, J. S., T. Kuemmerle, H. Li, G. Ren, J. Zhu, and V. C. Radeloff. 2012. Using Landsat imagery to map forest change in southwest China in response to the national logging ban and ecotourism development. Remote Sensing of Environment 121:358-369. A

Funding Sources
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