, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 449-452

Indigenous attitudes, ecotourism, and Mennonites: Recent examples in rainforest destruction/preservation

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Abstract

During the Summer of 1992, the author traveled to three distinctive rainforest regions. Two were located in Ecuador: the west coastal rainforest and the northern “Oriente”, a headwater region of the Amazon Basin. The third rainforest was located in the northwestern region of Belize. As a member of a study group sponsored by Save the Rainforest, Incorporated, the author was involved with the Programme for Belize Research station at Rio Bravo. Having witnessed a variety of types of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon during the summer of 1989 and the accompaying multitude of indigenous attitudes concerning the same, the author was keenly aware of destruction/preservation activities in these other regions.

The indigenous peoples encountered during these travels displayed conservation-minded attitudes and a true desire to save the rainforest. In addition, three ecotourism resorts were encountered during these visits. Though these profit-making establishments do not contribute financial support to local conservation efforts, they do represent large investment concerned with rainforest protection. In Belize the immigration of Mennonites has been considerable. Though their American counterparts may observe a quaint and simplistic lifestyle, in Belize, Mennonites are a major destructive force.