Ecotourism in the context of climate change

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1 Ecotourism in the context of climate change May 2015 Nyi Nyi Kyaw Director General Forest Department Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry Myanmar International Ecotourism Conference 2015 Nay Pyi Taw

2 What is Ecotourism? The term Ecotourism refers to tourism-related activities in and around its protected areas, and focuses upon management tools, systems and processes that deliver three elements: biodiversity and ecosystems conservation; education and learning opportunities; and economic and social benefits to communities

3 Basic principles of Ecotourism. Contribute to the conservation of natural & cultural resources Involve the local population as beneficiaries of the project Follow sound and ethical business International Ecotourism Society

4 Protected Areas A Protected Area is clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.(iucn, 2008) Protected Areas Categories under IUCN System Ia) Strict Nature Reserve Ib) Wilderness Area II) National Park III) Natural Monument or Feature IV) Habitat/ Species Management Area V) Protected Landscape/ Seascape VI) Protected Area with Sustainable Use of Natural Resources

5 Protected Areas According to the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), PA means the area determined for the purpose of protection and conservation of wildlife, ecosystem or significant landscape for their sustainability. Protected Areas Categories under the wildlife law; I) Scientific Reserve II) National Park III) Marine National Park IV) Nature Reserve V) Wildlife Sanctuary VI) Geo-physically Significant Reserve VII) Other Nature Reserve determined by the Union Minister

6 Ecotourism provides tremendous opportunities for sustainable development. However, it is also under threats due to Climate Change!

7 The Climate is Changing! The Global mean temperature has increased about 8 C from 1906 to 2005 (IPCC 2007)

8 and the Climate Change has just begun! The pace of climate change is very likely to increase over the 21 st century +1.8 to 6.4 C by 2100 (IPCC 2007)

9 Impacts of climate change on Biodiversity Biodiversity loss individual species and ecosystems depending on their climate tolerance and ability to disperse into a new location Vegetation zones are expected to shift, leading to a range shifts (e.g. wildlife, bird spp.)

10 Impacts of climate change on Specific Ecosystems Increased variability in the hydrological cycle is expected to leave inland wetlands to dry out with lower species diversity

11 Impacts of climate change on Specific Ecosystems (cont.) Decrease in extent of mangroves as coastal zone becomes squeezed between sea and inland agriculture Coral death due to prolonged exposure to rises in temperature which causes coral bleaching due to ocean acidification

12 Climate change could impact not only to ecosystems, but also to Ecotourism! Changes in destination by travelers Changes in business will impact employment and labour demand Unpredictable weather will make planning and product development difficult for operators Changes in migration and feeding patterns of wildlife will impact to the Viewing times for wildlife by visitors

13 Impacts of Climate Change to Ecotourism Changes in water levels make operators unable to visit areas they once experienced due to limited access to natural areas Popular destinations become less attractive Resorts collapse into the sea due to sea level rise Frequent forest fire may restrict visitors experiences such as hiking/camping

14 Conventional tourism contributes to Climate Change!

15 Contribution of tourism to climate change The Tourism industry is a major contributor for emission through transportation, accommodation and activities account for about 5% of global CO2 emissions. Business as Usual Projection of Future CO2 Emission from Tourism (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO 2008).

16 Contribution of tourism to climate change (cont.) Shortage of water and ground water depletion Pollution & eutrophication of water Other accumulated environmental impacts of tourism

17 Measures to be taken to promote sustainable ecotourism Create awareness about global warming and its causes and implore people to change their attitudes and lifestyles Reduce fuel consumption eg. Use of nonmotorized vehicle or public transport

18 Measures to be taken to promote sustainable ecotourism Promote waste reduction and recycling Power efficient use e.g. minimized use of air conditioners and electricity and water Diversity a range of services with little use of natural resources Promote new marketing strategies that attracts visitors to enjoy nature New areas/locations moving beyond the traditional ones

19 Conclusion Biodiversity loss due to climate change will negatively impact on ecotourism Diversification of services is the best way for operators to deal with changes Actors in Ecotourism industry will need to adopt more practices that enhance environmental sustainability greening their operations Need to develop mechanisms to encourage responsible travel from the Guests

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