How Do Conservation and the Tourism Industry Affect Local Livelihoods? A Comparative Study of Two Nature Reserves in China Wang, Weiye; Liu, Jinlong; Kozak, Robert; Jin, Mengmeng; Innes, John L.
Drawing on a comparison of two different nature reserves (NRs) in China, this paper explores the effect of the establishment of the NRs and the associated tourism industry development on local livelihoods, and analyzes why they differed. One hundred semi-structured interviews were administered with local elites, villagers, and government officials to identify livelihood changes. Based on a modified sustainable livelihoods framework, we found that the livelihoods of people living in both NRs had improved, but there was a loss of traditional culture and weakened social connections. The provision of alternative livelihoods options was critical for local people, with these options needing to have strong connections to China’s development policies. The results point to the importance of providing alternative livelihood strategies when establishing new conservation areas. This requires holistic management plans that not only address conservation, but also consider the impacts on local people.
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