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Community-Owned Ecotourism: Process and Politics

Keith Bosak Assistant Professor of Nature-Based Tourism and Recreation College of Forestry and conservation The university of Montana Keith.bosak@umontana.edu


Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR) 1939- Nanda Devi declared a game sanctuary 1982-Nanda Devi declared a National Park and closed 1988-Nanda Devi becomes part of the Man and the Biosphere Program under UNESCO 1992- Nanda Devi declared a World Heritage Site for its unique biodiversity

Location Landscape Flora Fauna People

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History and livelihoods Pre-1962: Traditional livelihoods and trade 1962-1974: China and India go to war and the border areas are closed 1974-Chipko (to hug): The Chipko movement begins in the village of Reni 1974-1982: The Golden Era of Mountaineering 1982: The closure of Nanda Devi 1982-2001: Economic downturn, protest and a reformation of livelihood practices

2001: Creation of the “Nanda Devi Biodiversity Conservation and Ecotourism Declaration� 2006: The caterpillar rush

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Community-based conservation and ecotourism in the NDBR (bio-cultural diversity)

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Key elements: Protected area status and biophysical resources Previous experience with tourism Previous experience with resistance Cultural cohesion Ability and willingness to network Strong leadership Development of a set of guiding principles


Challenges: External Challenges: Competition and restrictive policies Internal challenges: Mostly issues of equity Other Challenges: The digital divide Education Funding


A framework for success? Strong motivation (in this case geopolitical resistance) Previous experience/exposure to tourism Strong leadership and organization A mutually agreed upon set of guiding principles Networking to fill gaps and empower Focus on equity Ability to obtain external funding


Recommendations: Build human, social and natural capital so that they reinforce one another Focus on equity Develop an appropriate set of mutually agreed upon guiding principles Develop a leadership and organizational strategy Develop a business plan that will promote economic sustainability


Thank you for your attention:

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Community Owned Ecotourism – Process and Politics  

ESYC 2008: Community Owned Ecotourism – Process and Politics - Dr. Keith Bosak, The University of Montana

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