ECOLNET CONFERENCE - TOPIC 3: PRACTICAL TOOLS FOR CONSERVATION AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

During the 2nd European Ecotourism Conference in Brasov, we tried to find effective solutions (e.g. financial mechanisms) to maximize ecotourism’s benefits for nature conservation and local development, answering to the following questions:

  • How the benefit brought by ecotourism could be maximised for protected areas and local communities?
  • What are the practical methods to support nature conservation and local development through ecotourism?
  • How ecotourism can be the catalyst that integrates nature conservation within the local development avoiding conflicts but providing benefits for both?
  • How ecotourism products and destinations provide direct effective nature conservation tools for protected areas?

We agreed on some good remarks and  ideas (see the Conclusions_Workshop3.pdf), and three practical examples were presented:

 

Do you know any other good practice/method where ecotourism maximizes its benefits for  nature conservation and local development?  

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I read the workshop conclusion and it is very interesting. Especially I liked from practical methods – ecotourism product involving environmental research activities. I have experience for this method. I have participated in volunteer projcet what involved bird monitoring, research activities in nature area.  In my opinion it is good method to use in ecotourism.

Thank you Mari-Liis.

Do you know about any ecotourism product in Estonia that implies visiting or participating in conservation projects ?

Estonian Ornithological Society together with Tallinn Bird Club have coordinated project to monitor birds. They are involveing citizen for this action. I think it is good to involve for this kind of monitoring actions. It gives opportunity to locals learn something new. Knowledge about all living things around you is step for respecting environment. It not so much ecotourism product but it can  and should be.

We also have some voluntary work going on in conservation areas http://www.talgud.ee/en

One more thing from Estonia:

http://www.savvusann.ee/index.php/et/english/smoke-sauna-and-costums

Every year in the first or second week of August, ownwers smoke sauna in our villages open the doors for visitors. So all people can take the experience our old traditions.

I think one good example is wetland Soomaa in Estonia. http://www.soomaa.com/experiences/canoeing/
Those canoe trips and all other activities there, let tourist see beautiful national park and be part of it.

For a number of years at CTS we run an eco-volunteering program based on a marine turtle rescue and research center in Linosa, Sicily. We managed to combine nature conservation co-financed by the EU through the Life program with the presence of groups of people willing to support the sea turtle conservation through their work and fees. Participants were involved in the rescue operations, animal feeding, awareness raising activities, surveillance of turtle nests. They had to pay a fee to support the research and to cover their food and lodging expenses. The program was quite a success (even though Linosa is a far away place, a bit expensive and not easy to reach). One of the program's main output, a part from the scientific results, was that the local community started to look at turtles as a valuable asset, something they should protect and take care of since people from outside were willing to spend money, time, hand work to help them. Also, for the first time the community was not shouting against the conservation and research activities and the money spent for it, because they were sharing the benefits in terms of tourism.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

The European Ecotourism Knowledge Network (ECOLNET) is a 3-year project (2010-2013) co-financed by the European Commission, Lifelong Learning Programme, Transversal Programmes, Key Activity 3-ICT Networks.

For more info, please visit the ECOLNET official website.

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