, Volume 77, Issue 6, pp 805–815 | Cite as

The indigenous ecotourism and social development in Taroko National Park area and San-Chan tribe, Taiwan

  • Chen Yi-fongEmail author


This paper explores the socio-cultural influence of the newly established ecotourism, which integrates cultural revitalization, ecological conservation and social development, in both Taroko National Park area and San-Chan aboriginal community. Many cases in different parts of the world indicate that the Indigenous peoples have developed patterns of resource use and management practices that reflect detailed knowledge of local geography and ecosystem, and contribute to the natural conservation through their living practices. The guidelines of Indigenous knowledge and culture lay the base for the development of ecotourism. A critical evaluation of the conceptualization of Indigenous knowledge is therefore, essential to the success of an alternative strategy to development for aboriginal communities. Participatory observation in the field of ecotourism activities and brief interviews are the major study methods, with several workshops conducted to supplement data collection for the two case studies. The Taroko area came into contact with tourists in a relative early era due to its famous natural features and national park. Its growing ecotourism is the result of cooperation among local residents, environmentalists, and academics, each with very different concepts of ecotourism operation. The national park and public sectors have also played significant role in shaping the content of ecotourism. In San-Chan community, due to the negative impacts generated by the unregulated mass tourism expansion, the local Indigenous people decide to close the public access to the attractive creek for 3 years, while at the same time promote ecotourism for poverty alleviation. These two cases embrace the ‘Nature’ as an important element in their construction of new place identity and community development. However, their spatial location in- or outside the national park produces significant differences and sociopolitical implications on the operations of ecotourism.


Ecotourism Indigenous traditional knowledge Taroko National Park 



The author is grateful for the funding support of National Science Council (NSC) in Taiwan, project # NSC 96-2621-Z-259–004.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Development for Indigenous PeoplesNational Dong Hwa UniversityShoufengTaiwan

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