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Conservation, ecotourism, poverty, and income inequality – A case study of nature reserves in Qinling, China

Ben Ma, Zhen Cai, Jie Zheng and Yali Wen

World Development, 2019, vol. 115, issue C, 236-244

Abstract: The impacts of nature reserves (NRs) and ecotourism on local economies are considered controversial. By surveying households residing inside and outside of six giant panda NRs in the Qinling Mountains from 2015 to 2017, this study evaluates the impacts of NRs and ecotourism on the poverty and income inequality of local communities in China. Our results suggest that the local communities of NRs show higher poverty and lower income levels compared to the national average. NRs significantly reduced the net income of households residing within the NRs, and most of these reductions are caused by converting cropland to conservation land. NRs also aggravated the income inequality of local communities, and the level of inequality inside NRs was significantly higher than that outside. In terms of the impacts from ecotourism, ecotourism can reduce poverty, but it increases income inequality, especially for those households residing within NRs.

Keywords: Protected area; Gini coefficient; Matching estimates; Giant panda nature reserves (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.11.017

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