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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 962–975 | Cite as

Conserving agricultural heritage systems through tourism: Exploration of two mountainous communities in China

  • Ye-hong Sun
  • Mary Jane Dela Cruz
  • Qing-wen Min
  • Mou-cheng LiuEmail author
  • Ling-yun Zhang
Article

Abstract

Community plays an important role in the preservation of agricultural heritage system (AHS). Recently, many AHS have been valorized as interesting resources for rural tourism. The expectations are that tourism development (TD) can be supportive for the conservation of AHS while creating benefits for local communities. In this study, two mountainous pilot villages (Longxian and Xiaohuang) in a global conservation project for traditional agricutural systems — Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) were selected to identify the relationship between AHS conservation and TD. The study undertook in-depth interviews, and questionnaires of village residents and informal discussions with local villagers. A t-test and a linear regression model were implemented to explore the comparative dimensions of the two communities with different geographical location, economic situation, and stage of TD. The research found some similarities and differences in the two mountainous communities during AHS conservation and TD. Firstly, AHS are preservaed well in both villages unconsiously, while the residents in Xiaohuang value more highly the heritage elements than the respondents in Longxian, and the villagers in Xiaohuang are more worried about their heritage system; Secondly, both villages expect lots of benefits from TD and they clearly perceive more positive than negative impact from tourism and thus approve TD, while the huge different perception on transportation and accessibility in the two villages reflects the bottleneck of TD in Xiaohuang village. At the same time, the respondents from Xiaohuang perceive more positive and fewer negative impact from tourism than the respondents from Longxian. Thirdly, the respondents in the two villages all show positive attitudes towards participation in tourism mostly motivated by the high income expectation. The main factors to determine the community perception in two villages were also analyzed based on the data process. A location-based conceputal framework of AHS conservation in partnership with TD at community scale is proposed at the end of the paper. The dynamics of tourism development, that could enhance a better understanding of the complex relationship between conservation objectives and tourism development are discussed.

Keywords

Agricultural heritage system Tourism development Mountainous communities Zhejiang Province Guizhou Province China 

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ye-hong Sun
    • 1
  • Mary Jane Dela Cruz
    • 2
  • Qing-wen Min
    • 3
  • Mou-cheng Liu
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ling-yun Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of TourismBeijing Union UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Land and Water Division, Natural Resources and Environment Management DepartmentFood and Agriculture OrganizationRomeItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources researchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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