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Taking Responsibility for Biodiversity

August 28, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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We face two existential crises: climate change and biodiversity loss. The two are of course related climate change is contributing to species loss as habitats are destroyed and the species which live there. We are in the sixth mass extinction, the Anthropocene. The current rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates. Humans have evolved to become a global super predator having a worldwide impact on other species and our food chain.

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ― Aldo Leopold

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published by the United NationsIntergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, posits that roughly one million species of plants and animals face extinction within decades as the result of human actions.

Tourism contributes to biodiversity loss and species extinction through its greenhouse gas emissions, its consumption of biological resources in ways as diverse as food and beverage, transport and construction. The tourists interact with species in the wild also impacts on the ability to feed, reproduce and avoid predation.

On the other hand, tourism can provide economic benefit for communities who live with wildlife, some of it dangerous, and who bear the opportunity cost of leaving habitat undisturbed and unharvested. The visitor feeds paid by tourists rarely if ever cover the full costs of maintaining a national park or reserve.

There is a growing awareness of the links between animal health and the health of our planet. In June Prof Matthew Baylis from the University of Liverpool told BBC News: “In the last 20 years, we’ve had six significant threats – SARS, MERS, Ebola, avian influenza and swine flu … We dodged five bullets, but the sixth got us.” He cautions “.. this is not the last pandemic we are going to face, so we need to be looking more closely at wildlife disease.”  more


Tourism Supporting Biodiversity  

A Manual on applying the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development

UNEP & CBD 2015  Download


‘Biodiversity, eco-system services and tourism – conflict or symbiosis?’ World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) & WTM Responsible Tourism

Responsible recovery of the travel and tourism sector after the Covid-19 crisis should be seen in the context of three overriding challenges facing humanity: Achieving net zero emissions / carbon neutrality by 2050; ensuring no more species loss after 2030, and decisively addressing growing inequality / inequity in society.

As we reset and rebuild in a more equitable way in a post-Covid world, the travel and tourism sector - which represented 10.3% of global GDP and one in every 10 jobs on the planet before the pandemic hit - should be at the forefront of building a new world order.

Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. Around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction. The accelerating rate of species loss, combined with the rapid loss of nature's material and non-material contributions to people’s livelihoods, render this crisis at least as pressing a global priority as climate change and health pandemics.  more

Wildlife trafficking driving 'severe declines' in traded species, finds study: Animals traded for the pet industry, bushmeat, traditional medicine, ivory and lab use declined locally by up to 99.9%  Paper   Guardian Report 

Biodiversity offsetting and net gain: licence to trash nature


Goodwin H  (2002) Local Community Involvement in Tourism around National Parks: Opportunities and Constraints in Special Issue of Current Issues in Tourism 5(3&4) 2002 reprinted in Local Community Involvement in Tourism around National Parks: Opportunities and Constraints in Luck M & Kirstges T (2003) Global Ecotourism Policies and Case Studies Channel View Publications

Goodwin, H & Roe, D  (2001) Tourism Livelihoods and Protected Areas: Opportunities for Fair-trade Tourism in and around national parks International Journal of Tourism Research (3) 2:377-391

Walpole M Goodwin H and Ward K (2001)  Pricing policy for tourism in protected areas: lessons from Komodo National Park, Indonesia. Conservation Biology 15 (1) February 2001 pp. 218-227.

Walpole M J, Goodwin H J (2001)  Local attitudes towards conservation and tourism around Komodo National Park, Indonesia Environmental Conservation 28 (2):160-166

Goodwin H & Walpole M (2000) Assessing the Impact of Tourism in and around Komodo National Park in Pariwisata Indonesia 3 Menghadapi Abad XXI Institute of Technology Bandung: 30-36 . ISBN 979-95311-5-2

Walpole M J & Goodwin H (2000)  Local Economic Impacts of Dragon Tourism in Indonesia Annals of Tourism Research 27 (3) 559-576

Goodwin H (1996)  In Pursuit of Ecotourism Biodiversity and Conservation 5(3):277-291 ISSN 0960-311

Goodwin, Harold J., and Ian R. Swingland (1996) “Ecotourism, biodiversity and local development.” Biodiversity and Conservation 5, no. 3 (1996): 275-276

Goodwin, H, Kent I, Parker K, Walpole, M (1998) Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development IIED December 1998 ISSN 1 361 8628

Goodwin, H J, Kent, I J, Parker K T, Walpole M J (1997) one of four reports on Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development. Vol I Comparative Report Department for International Development, London

Goodwin, H J, Kent, I J, Parker K T, Walpole M J (1997) one of four reports on Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development. Vol II Keoladeo National Park India Department for International Development, London

Goodwin, H J, Kent, I J, Parker K T, Walpole M J (1997) one of four reports on Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development. Vol III Komodo National Park, Indonesia Department for International Development, London

Goodwin, H J, Kent, I J, Parker K T, Walpole M J (1997) one of four reports on Tourism, Conservation and Sustainable Development. Vol IV Southeast Lowveld, Zimbabwe Department for International Development, London

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