Forest owners’ perceptions of ecotourism: Integrating community values and forest conservation
The use of forest land for ecotourism has been well accepted due to its ability to provide income to local people and to conserve the forest. Preparing the forest with infrastructure to attract and educate visitors has been reported of importance. This study applied Q methodology in a small rural community of the State of Puebla, Mexico, to reveal forest owners’ perceptions to build infrastructure in their forest as part of their ecotourism project. It also discloses forest owners’ underlying motives to use their forest for ecotourism. Ecotourism is perceived as a complementary activity to farming that would allow women to be involved in community development. Low impact infrastructure is desired due to forest owners’ perception to preserve the forest for the overall community well-being.
KeywordsEcotourism Small-scale forest management Q methodology Perceptions
We want to express our gratitude to El Programa Profesor Humanista Internacional Multidisciplinario and the Posgrados en Agronegocios y Dirección de Organizaciones at UPAEP for sponsoring this project. Special thanks to the members of the community La Preciosita for their willingness to participate. We also thank our anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that greatly improved this paper.
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