Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 1405–1418 | Cite as

Community attitudes toward ecotourism development and environmental conservation in nature reserve: a case of Fujian Wuyishan National Nature Reserve, China

  • Bi-xia ChenEmail author
  • Zhen-mian Qiu


Using social exchange theory, this study investigated residents’ attitudes toward the preliminary stage of tourism development in nature reserves in Wuyishan National Nature Reserve of China, and the socio-economic and negative effects of residents’ attitude toward the tourist industry. Results of the questionnaire survey indicated that local people perceived they could benefit from the economic activities related to tourism, and were supportive of the conservation of natural resources and local culture, sustainable community development, and community participation in ecotourism planning and management. This study also revealed that the variables of age, gender, education level, household income, family size, non-farm work arrangements, and the distance to tourism attractions, have significant association with respondents’ attitudes toward ecotourism development, or negative impacts of the tourist industry. Respondents who are male, or have a higher household income, are more supportive of tourism development inside the reserve. Younger and more highly educated community members are more likely to support learning more about natural and cultural resources and landscapes. Respondents who have a higher household income, or live far from the village center, are more concerned about the negative environmental impacts of tourism development.


Economic benefits Environmental conservation Nature reserve Residents’ attitude Tourism development Wuyishan National Nature Reserve 


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The authors want to thank the University of the Ryukyus Foundation (Fiscal year of 2014), and the United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Kagoshima University (Fiscal year of 2015 and 2016) for their grant to support this research. We gratefully acknowledge Prof. Guo, Jinhui, and two former students, Ms. Meng, Zhongli, and Ms. Lin Lijuan from Wuyi College, for their kind assistance to our field survey. We wish to thank all of the interviewees for their collaboration and kindness in providing information. We are also grateful for the very insightful comments and constructive feedback from the anonymous reviewers who helped to considerably improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawa PrefectureJapan
  2. 2.School of EconomicsFujian Normal UniversityFuzhouChina
  3. 3.Kanazawa UniversityKanazawa City, Ishikawa PrefectureJapan

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