SUSTAINABILITY -- Complex interrelationships between ecosystem services supply and tourism demand: General framework and evidence from the origin of three Asian rivers


December 19, 2018 - Author: ; Tao Pan; Xintong Zou;

Journal or Book Title: Sustainability

Keywords: nature-based tourism; ecosystem services; protected areas; telecoupling; demand; supply; tourist consumption

Volume/Issue: 10

Page Number(s): 4576

Year Published: 2018

Over the past two decades, the demands of nature-based tourism have been rapidly growing worldwide, yet it is not clear how tourist demands for water, food, and infrastructure influence the ecosystem services (ES), which are often the bedrock of an area’s economic, cultural, and natural wealth. With a general conceptual model that applies the telecoupling framework, this study identifies complex interrelationships between the demand for nature-based tourism, which is a type of cultural ES, ES supply, and the economy simultaneously, using China’s Qinghai Province as a demonstration site. The province is the origin of three rivers, making it crucial for water retention and prime for tourism. The results indicate that there is a strong spatial interaction between the number of tourism attractions and water retention. The southern Qinghai region’s natural resources are protected by the Sanjiangyuan (three rivers headwater) National Park. From 2010–2014, tourists in the Sanjiangyuan region spent more money than those in the northern Qinghai region, which has accelerated the development of tourism infrastructures. The Sanjiangyuan region may face the unexpected degradation of its natural habitats due to rapid tourism development. Our findings suggest that new management plans are needed to minimize the negative impacts from the demands of distant tourists, and preserve the region that supports both the environment and the economy.

DOI: 10.3390/su10124576

Type of Publication: Journal Article



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