Environmental Impacts of Ecotourism

This is the second in this series of ecotourism books to come out in paperback, an important step in enabling a wider distribution of knowledge about the impacts of ecotourism on the ecology of the places visited. The series does not yet contain texts dealing with the net benefits which accrue to local communities, or the net contribution to the costs of management of the natural heritage estate occasioned by ecotourism. These are serious omissions given the claims which are made for the virtues of ecotourism. This collection of studies of the impacts of human recreational activity on the ecology of the places ecotourists and mainstream tourists visit, reports empirical work on impacts ranging from those of hiking and camping on soils and vegetation to the monitoring of instream bacteria as a management indicator for tourism impacts. As Buckley acknowledges most of the literature derives from North America, although this collection does include work from Russia and Brazil. Buckley is to be congratulated on facing up to the reality that ecotourism uses much of the same infrastructure as other forms of tourism. Simmons and Becken focus on the costs of getting there, reminding us that however well managed tourism may be in the destination significant damage results from the flight and the emissions from energy use on the ground. , As they conclude ecotourism policy-makers and operators need to &lsquo,examine the wider tourism systems in which they operate.&rsquo, Johnson&rsquo,s chapter on in-migration caused by the growth of tourism in the Greater Yellowstone Region draws attention to an often neglected impact of tourism development, and ecotourism plays its part in that. Camping is addressed alongside hiking in a review of the literature by Cole but there is surprising little attention paid to the ecological impacts of accommodation on ecosystems.