Icelandic Travel Industry Association wants well-manged national park to protect the entire Highlands…

Iceland’s Environment Minister, Björt Ólafsdóttir supports the national park initiative

…was one of the results of the LT&C-workshop May 28 in Hrauneyjar, at the entrance to the Icelandic Highlands. The topic was ”Highland National Park: Opportunities to Link Tourism and Conservation”. The event, which followed the Annual General Meeting of LT&C, was opened by Iceland’s Environment Minister, Björt Ólafsdóttir, who explained her support for a national park as well as the next planning stages before it can be implemented. See her presentation: HighlandWorkshop Continue reading “Icelandic Travel Industry Association wants well-manged national park to protect the entire Highlands…”

LT&C-Workshop on the Icelandic Highlands National Park Plans

Photo: Steinar Kaldal

May 28, 2017, together with the Iceland Nature Conservation Organisation (INCA) and Landvernd, LT&C is planning a Workshop on the topic “The Icelandic Highlands – one National Park? How can tourism support this idea?”. In her opening speech Iceland’s Minister of the Environment, Björt Ólafsdóttir, will update us on the present status of plans from the Government of Iceland to protect the Highlands. Continue reading “LT&C-Workshop on the Icelandic Highlands National Park Plans”

Friends of Karura Community Forest Association – user-driven protected area management

Friends of Karura Community Forest Association – user-driven protected area management

The Karura Forest Reserve is one of the world’s largest forests fully within major city limits, Kenya’s capital Nairobi. The 1,000-hectare upland sclerophyllus forest has been under threat from over-exploitation and unplanned development since it was gazetted in 1932. Kenya’s 2005 Forest Act made visionary provision for the establishment of Community Forest Associations (CFA) for each National Forest Reserve. In 2009, inspired by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai’s campaign to rescue Karura and indeed all nation’s forests from greed-driven development, a group of the Karura Forest’s neighbouring stakeholders joined forces to establish and launch the Friends of Karura Forest (FKF) CFA. Since then, with unprecedented support from local corporations and communities FKF and the parastatal Kenya Forest Service have worked together within the terms of a carefully-negotiated Joint Management Plan. The results speak for themselves: in less than a decade, Karura has revived from a place to be avoided to one of the places in Nairobi to be visited. The 200,000 visitors a year — three quarters of whom are Kenyans — demonstrate with their enthusiasm for the project and their entrance fees that well-controlled, participatory forest management can achieve user-driven and sustainable protected area management.

a) Political/management support

The FKF/CFA has a legislative mandate under the Kenya Forests Act (2005), a legal standing duly registered under the Societies Act of Kenya, an operational basis within the framework of a joint management agreement with the Kenya Forest Service.

b) Financial support

FKF/CFA operations and capital development are fully supported through membership fees, visitor entry and activity fees, as well as corporate and individual donations in the form of cash, discounted services or kind.

c) Educational support

The FKF/CFA is a founding trustee of the Karura Forest Environment Education Trust, KFEET. There is a full-time Education Officer under joint FKF-KFEET employment. Thousands of Kenyan school children visit the forest in organized tours each month. The topical thrust of the current five-year Joint Management Agreement with KFS is education and research.

d) Popular support

It is hard to conceive within a democratic system that any protected area could survive without a good measure of popular support. From having virtually no visitors before 2009, Karura has grown to become known as one of the safest places in Nairobi and Number Four of 119 TripAdvisor Things to Do in Nairobi. Of the nearly 20,000 visitors a month to the forest, three-quarters are Kenyan citizens. The FKF Facebook page has more than 16,000 followers; the website page is mainly visited from within Kenya (60%). Recent social media campaigns in protest of land-grabbing and littering resulted in tens of thousands people reached, hundreds of comments and shares. They also gave material impetus to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Regional Development to hold a televised visit to the forest to declare that it was safe under her watch, as well as introduce a legislated ban on plastic bags in Kenya. Possibly the most important element to ensuring Karura’s future is that it has become ‘The People’s Forest’.

FKF is currently strengthening the ticketing and entry control procedures with a dynamic, semi-automated POS (point of sale) system to be linked to membership and event planning. Since 2009, when FKF was incorporated, there have been no security incidents of note in the forest. This extraordinary record — on which rests much of the current popular support — can only be maintained with carefully controlled public entry.

The Kenya Forest Service Board of Directors and Director have gone on record to state that the Karura model should be replicated in other Kenyan forests, with its joint management plan (JMP) serving as the blueprint. The JMP is the mechanism whereby a government body and civil stakeholders work together for the common goal of conserving and managing a public natural resource. The model could be shared with others through the LT&C corresponding network.

Sustainable conservation of natural ecosystems cannot occur in sublime isolation from a burgeoning human population. Landscapes that provide ecosystem services need to be protected and managed in order to maintain their biodiversity and productivity, and to prevent them from being over-exploited and overrun. Responsible tourism is arguably the only enterprise that can simultaneously provide people with opportunities for relaxation and education in wild areas whilst generating income to secure and manage the areas being visited. Despite that fact that the linkages between conservation and tourism are fundamental and self-evident, it is clearly necessary that their existence and modalities be organized and promulgated by an NGO such as LT&C, in its role as a curator of a network of success stories.

Conservation of Marine Species in Côte d´Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Conservation of Marine Species in Côte d´Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

CEM (Conservation des Espèces Marines or Conservation of Marine Species) is an African-European NGO founded in 2015. Their primary objective is to protect marine turtles at Côte d´Ivoire, the Ivory Coast, in West Africa.

The 40km long coast is where the olive ridley, Lepidochelys olivacea, the leatherback, Dermochelys coriacea, and the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, successfully reproduce. CEM’s goal is to secure the remaining habitats along the coast for these turtles.

With the support of the local people and tourism industry a concrete plan has been put in place for the protection of the area; including its lagoons, mangroves, coastal rainforests, and beaches. The initiative began in 2012 with the support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and has been growing ever since.

International travellers demonstrate the value sea turtles have; if they remain in their natural the landscapes. Tourism can provide revenue for local well-being, more revenue than removing, harvesting, and selling the limited amount of turtle eggs.

Education is a practical way to change behaviour. Farmers, and local fishermen especially, think about their goods and how to provide for their families. With education and time, one will understand that the animals they base their lives around will eventually not be around anymore if egg harvesting continues.

There is little understanding for nature conservation in Côte d´Ivoire. Subsequently, their natural landscape is diminishing. There is a promising concept however for sustainable management that provides both incomes for the local communities and securing the future of their sea turtles.

Protected areas preserve biodiversity. In some places, they’re also used to see how conservation is more financially beneficial than its antithesis. Politicians and civil service systems already understand this concept. Still, implementation is lacking.

Côte d´Ivoire exports many valuable minerals and agricultural products; such as coffee, cacao, palm oil, and pineapples all over the world. International support is needed. Developed countries are responsible for protecting resources and have a major influence on sustainable practices.

 Linking tourism and the sea turtle project, at Grand Béréby, is still in its infancy. The region is rich with beautiful beaches, unique landscapes, and picturesque views. There is a high potential for individual and nature-based tourism. They already have a strong motive to support establishing a protected coastal area.

On a voluntary and short-term basis, this protected area exist already. When the government approves the long-term plan and when practices are implemented on the ground, it will be an LT&C-Example, which could be profiled worldwide.

This example of the CEM-Project shows that already, with a tiny group of only 5 people, a larger population (ca. 3.000) can be reached to positively and voluntarily control a ca. 40km stretch of beach from turtle-egg harvesting.

It also shows that protecting a ~5.000 ha area is possible on a voluntary basis. Without the initiative and involvement of the local people, progress could not be made.

We can use this model as a reference for other areas. Tourism has been observed worldwide as a successful approach to protecting sea turtles.

An update in German: Meeresschutzgebiet Bericht 2018-2

The French version of the report can also be downloaded

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International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT)

The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) is a not for profit organization dedicated to fostering travel and tourism initiatives that contribute to international understanding, cooperation among nations, an improved quality of environment, cultural enhancement and the preservation of heritage, poverty reduction, reconciliation and healing wounds of conflicts; and through these initiatives, helping to bring about a peaceful and sustainable world.  It is founded on a vision of the world’s largest industry, travel and tourism – becoming the world’s first global peace industry; and the belief that every traveler is potentially an “Ambassador for Peace.”

New Perspectives for Linking Tourism and Conservation? – Interview with Brian T. Mullis

Brian T. Mullis is a new member of our global “penguin” network. Based in Portland/Oregon in the US he has a very relevant background in relation to Linking Tourism & Conservation’s mission. Brian began his career working in national parks in the United States, and went on to own and operate an international adventure and eco-travel company for nine years. In 2002, he founded Sustainable Travel International, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve lives and protect places through travel and tourism. Under Brian’s leadership over the course of 14 years, Sustainable Travel International assisted hundreds of ministries of tourism and leading airlines, cruise lines, hoteliers, and tour operators in adopting practices that support a healthy environment, economic opportunity and social well-being. He is a thought leader working at the intersection of sustainable development, conservation and tourism. His vision and perspectives for the future of LT&C could be important for the organization’s future development, role and impact. Peter Prokosch therefore took the chance to interview him about his interest in and perspectives for LT&C: Continue reading “New Perspectives for Linking Tourism and Conservation? – Interview with Brian T. Mullis”

International Migratory Bird Day: Save a chain of protected areas along the flyways of migratory birds !

10th of May is World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The common theme this year is “Their Future is our Future – A Healthy Planet for Migratory Birds and People“.  The 2017 theme is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlights the interdependence of people and nature, and more specifically people and migratory birds, as they share the same planet and the same limited resources. Human activity can have a negative impact on birds’ migration, while humankind relies on birds as they deliver environmental services that are invaluable. The 2017 campaign aims at raising awareness of the need for sustainable management of our natural resources, demonstrating that bird conservation is also crucial for the future of humankind. Within this context, LT&C is focusing on saving a chain of protected areas along migratory flyways, with the support of tourism.
Continue reading “International Migratory Bird Day: Save a chain of protected areas along the flyways of migratory birds !”

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development: LT&C-Study Tour Tiger Reserve Bardia National Park and Annapurna, Nepal

Photo: Jack Baucher

The following tour takes place in the context of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  Our member Tears for Tigers Travel provides us with an exclusive offer to study the LT&C-Example Bardia National Park and Annapurna. We most likely will be a very small group of LT&C-members using this unique offer of a real LT&C-Study Tour (September 30 – October 7, 2017). If you are interested to combine your wildlife experience with your own support of national parks and the life of local people, you may have a look.

Annual Report 2016 – What did LT&C achieve?

Linking Tourism and Conservation (LT&C) is in its third year of operation. It is still a Norwegian-registered international NGO with no paid staff. However, the voluntary, competent and enthusiastic activities of our members allow us us to be a true global player. Not only are our members (penguins) well distributed over all continents, but their uniqueness relates to the fact that we together speak the language of both conservation and tourism and that we represent different society levels and cultures. Linking and identifying synergy among our members and partners is our core business. Continue reading “Annual Report 2016 – What did LT&C achieve?”

Save the Boundary Waters Campaign (LT&C-Example) profiled in SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation and Travel Magazine

In the May edition of the SEVENSEAS travel and marine conservation magazine the LT&C-Example “Campaign to Safe the Boundary Waters”  is profiled as one of the top-stories (pp 88-90). The LT&C-story about saving this unique wilderness area at the Canadian border of the USA from severe pollution impacts of possible mining activities, described by Steve Piragis, illustrates a unique example of tourism and travel businesses engaging in protecting nature. It deserves international attention, and SEVENSEAS is helping in this respect by reaching out to 174 countries in the world. Continue reading “Save the Boundary Waters Campaign (LT&C-Example) profiled in SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation and Travel Magazine”