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The nature conservation, geotourism and poverty reduction nexus in developing countries: a case study from the Lao PDR


Kiernan, K, The nature conservation, geotourism and poverty reduction nexus in developing countries: a case study from the Lao PDR, Geoheritage, 5, (3) pp. 207-225. ISSN 1867-2477 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage

DOI: doi:10.1007/s12371-013-0084-6


Despite high geodiversity and biodiversity conservation values, scenic landscapes and parts of the Nam Ou Valley being perceived by western visitors as wilderness, there has been limited progress towards securing long-term protection of some of these attributes in nature conservation reserves. Higher priority has been given to economic development, partly in a bid to address endemic poverty that is the product of the area’s remoteness and its turbulent political and military history. However, unless nature conservation is properly integrated into programs intended to enhance economic and social development, the natural values of the area are placed at increasing risk, as are some tourism enterprises with potential to assist in poverty reduction. Tensions between meeting immediate economic needs through tourism versus environmental management consistent with the long-term sustainability of tourism highlight the inadequate attention accorded to geodiversity by overseas aid programs that have shaped the nature conservation agenda in Laos. Enhanced recognition of the significance of geodiversity and geoheritage is especially important for geotourism based on physical landforms including inherently vulnerable karst caves. Improved understanding of key environments to inform development and implementation of effective protective management strategies is essential to stem accelerating degradation of some key visitor attractions. Unless this occurs, local tourism will be unable to progress beyond what presently amounts to little more than rudimentary, unmanaged and destructive scenery mining and to mature into a sustainable industry that can nourish long-term economic and social development.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nature conservation, geodiversity, geotourism, ecotourism, overseas aid
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Geomorphology and earth surface processes
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Kiernan, K (Dr Kevin Kiernan)
ID Code:89315
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2014-02-28
Last Modified:2014-04-17

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