Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Michigan researcher helps resolve the conflict between exotic birds and eco-tourists

13.02.2003


Brazil’s Pantanal, a vast wetland situated in the center of South America, has become the next frontier for leading-edge eco-tourists in search of ever more exotic flora and fauna. "It’s where people go after they’ve been to Africa," says Shannon Bouton, a Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan.



This month, Bouton is publishing the results of her unique study of a wading bird colony in the Pantanal in the February issue of Conservation Biology, the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology. The article, co-authored with Peter C. Frederick (University of Florida), is titled "Stakeholders’ Perceptions of a Wading Bird Colony as a Community Resource in the Brazilian Pantanal." Unlike other research projects that consider only the biological effects of tourism, Bouton has combined her biological research with a study of how the colony serves as a resource for the local community. Her practical suggestions for meeting the twin goals of managing and developing tourism and conserving the colony have attracted the attention of top government officials and diplomats in Brazil and have made her study site at Porto da Fazenda a model for similar efforts in the region.

Today, as a result of those suggestions, local forestry police have posted a guard in front of the colony to control the behavior of tourists and fishermen. A local conservation group, Associação Ecológica Melgassense (AMEC) has established a staffed observation post that is occupied year-round to protect the birds and the forest. AMEC trains young people from the community as guides to take tourists along newly constructed trails at a safe distance from the colony and runs workshops for local children and adults so that everyone is aware of the biology of the birds, their importance to the community and how to behave so as not to disturb them.


"The tourists really appreciate the new amenities," Bouton says. "Now there’s a little shop to buy cool drinks, an orientation talk that tells them what to look for and well-informed guides to accompany them on the trail. Those who prefer not to walk can take advantage of spotting scopes on top of an observation tower. Tourism has increased ten-fold since our study, and at the same time the birds are happier and many more are staying in the colony."

The problem, as in many other areas that have become popular eco-tourism destinations, is that the influx of humans can destroy the very wonders that the tourists are flocking to see. In the case of the Pantanal, the tourist industry is still quite new, with very little infrastructure or regulation. "As the number of people, boats, and hotels in the Pantanal grow, local wildlife populations are going to be increasingly disturbed," Bouton says.

Breeding colonies of wading birds are a particularly spectacular feature throughout the wetland and have become one of the major tourist destinations. Porto da Fazenda is located in the northeast Pantanal, in the state of Mato Grosso, on the banks of the Cuiabá River. During the dry season (June-October) thousands of wood storks move into the area, nesting in densely packed groups at the tops of trees. By the time Bouton arrived, it was clear that regular visits by tourists were already changing the birds’ nesting success and breeding behavior. "Guides took tourists on walking tours through the middle of the colony and drove boats directly under nests overhanging the river. There were even reports of fireworks being set off to make the birds fly," Bouton says. "The perception in the community was that the birds were moving out, and that uncontrolled tourism was responsible."

The first part of the study documented the potential effects of human activities on nesting and found that viewing from boats caused significant nest desertion and breeding failure. "Would you want to live in a place where people drove right up under your nest with noisy motor boats, talking and laughing all the while?" Bouton says. In addition, she points out, when the parents leave the nests there are many predators waiting to attack the eggs and the chicks.

Next, she and her team interviewed stakeholders in the community, including licensed guides, hotel owners and managers, boat drivers and local landowners. Tourists were given questionnaires to complete and return on site. Bouton developed a model of the interactions among the various groups, identified the areas of potential conflict, and developed strategies that have since been implemented for satisfying tourists while not unduly disturbing the birds.



Bouton’s project was made possible by funding from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Chicago Zoological Society and the Central Florida Chapter of the Explorer’s Club.

For the complete article, see http://www.conbio.org/SCB/Publications/ConsBio/ or email snbouton@umich.edu. The University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment supports the protection of the earth’s resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. Faculty and students strive to generate knowledge, develop innovative policies and refine new techniques through research and education; see www.snre.umich.edu.


Judy Steeh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conbio.org/SCB/Publications/ConsBio/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>