A lush rainforest may generate more income than its logged wood and nutrient poor soil. Wild animals can be worth more alive in their habitats than dead at the market. Natural resources and wildlife are often sold as commodities in local, global, and illegal trades. But local communities can benefit from alternative—more sustainable—revenue streams that encourage and promote their area’s ecological integrity. Carefully managed ecotourism does just that.
In African jungles and Asian forests, WCS scientists are assessing the
potential for ecotourism. They are helping to create the infrastructure
for ecotourism activities and integrate local communities into the
business of showing world travelers that their natural heritage is
special and worth protecting. WCS helps incorporate community members
into hospitality services and trains guides so they can identify local
species and environmentally unique features of the landscape.
One of Cambodia’s poorest regions is rich in rare birdlife—in particular, the giant ibis and its cousin the white-shouldered ibis. Decades of violent conflict and a remote location kept naturalists and birdwatchers away. But now, birders travel from around the world in the hopes of seeing the ibises and other majestic species.
From the Newsroom
Birdwatchers from across Asia and beyond flock to Cambodia for a glimpse of two of the world's rarest birds: the giant ibis and its cousin the white-shouldered ibis. The birds’ nesting grounds sit at the outskirts of Tmatboey, a rural village where WCS has worked with the community to develop an eco-tourism project.
A new book series, Birds of Brazil, explores how the hobby of
birdwatching can encourage conservation. The first stop for the field
guides? The Pantanal and Cerrado.
The government of Tanzania plans to build a highway through Serengeti National Park, potentially disrupting one of the
world’s biggest migrations of large mammals and jeopardizing a popular tourism destination. WCS and partners urge the country's officials to consider alternate routes.
Afghanistan has announced some rare good news: the establishment of its first national park. The park, known as Band-e-Amir, will protect one of the country’s best-known natural areas.