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How Do Conservation and the Tourism Industry Affect Local Livelihoods? A Comparative Study of Two Nature Reserves in China

Weiye Wang (), Jinlong Liu (), Robert Kozak (), Mengmeng Jin () and John L. Innes ()
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Weiye Wang: Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Jinlong Liu: School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China, Mingde Building, No. 59 Zhongguancun Street, Beijing 100872, China
Robert Kozak: Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Mengmeng Jin: School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Renmin University of China, Mingde Building, No. 59 Zhongguancun Street, Beijing 100872, China
John L. Innes: Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 6, 1-16

Abstract: Drawing on a comparison of two different nature reserves (NRs) in China, this paper explores the effect of the establishment of the NRs and the associated tourism industry development on local livelihoods, and analyzes why they differed. One hundred semi-structured interviews were administered with local elites, villagers, and government officials to identify livelihood changes. Based on a modified sustainable livelihoods framework, we found that the livelihoods of people living in both NRs had improved, but there was a loss of traditional culture and weakened social connections. The provision of alternative livelihoods options was critical for local people, with these options needing to have strong connections to China’s development policies. The results point to the importance of providing alternative livelihood strategies when establishing new conservation areas. This requires holistic management plans that not only address conservation, but also consider the impacts on local people.

Keywords: conservation; tourism industry; local people; protected area; sustainable livelihoods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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