, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 99–109 | Cite as

Forest owners’ perceptions of ecotourism: Integrating community values and forest conservation

  • Sandra Rodríguez-Piñeros
  • Yesica Mayett-Moreno


The use of forest land for ecotourism has been well accepted due to its ability to provide income to local people and to conserve the forest. Preparing the forest with infrastructure to attract and educate visitors has been reported of importance. This study applied Q methodology in a small rural community of the State of Puebla, Mexico, to reveal forest owners’ perceptions to build infrastructure in their forest as part of their ecotourism project. It also discloses forest owners’ underlying motives to use their forest for ecotourism. Ecotourism is perceived as a complementary activity to farming that would allow women to be involved in community development. Low impact infrastructure is desired due to forest owners’ perception to preserve the forest for the overall community well-being.


Ecotourism Small-scale forest management Q methodology Perceptions 



We want to express our gratitude to El Programa Profesor Humanista Internacional Multidisciplinario and the Posgrados en Agronegocios y Dirección de Organizaciones at UPAEP for sponsoring this project. Special thanks to the members of the community La Preciosita for their willingness to participate. We also thank our anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that greatly improved this paper.


  1. Adam, J.H., S.T. Chong, A.C. Er, N. Lyndon, R. Moorthy, and S. Selvadurai. 2012. Perception of local community towards community-based ecotourism. Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences 6: 213–218.Google Scholar
  2. Barbosa-Polanco, S., D. Molina, G. Escalona-Segura, and E. Bello. 2010. Organization and ecotourism in ejidos of the Mexican southeast region. Revista Estudio Agrarios 44: 141–160 (In Spanish).Google Scholar
  3. Batta, R.N. 2006. Evaluating ecotourism in mountain areas: A study of three Himalayan destinations. International Review of Environmental Strategies 6: 41–62.Google Scholar
  4. Berninger, K., W. Adamowicz, D. Keeshaw, and C. Messier. 2010. Sustainable forest management preferences of interest groups in three regions with different levels of industrial forestry: An exploratory attribute-based choice experiment. Environmental Management 46: 117–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhuiyan, M.A.H., S. Chamhuri, I. ShaharuddinMohamad, and I. Rabiul. 2012. Environmental ecotourism for sustainable development in Sekayu Recreational Forest, Malaysia: Perception from the local communities. Advances in Environmental Biology 6: 2553–2557.Google Scholar
  6. Brandon, K., and R. Margoluis. 1996. Opening address: The bottom line: Getting biodiversity conservation back into ecotourism. In The ecotourism equation: Measuring the impacts, ed. E. Malek-Zadeh, 28–38. New Haven, CT: Yale University.Google Scholar
  7. Broadbent, E.N., A.M. ZambranoAlmeyda, R. Dirzo, W.H. Durham, L. Driscoll, P. Gallagher, R. Salters, J. Schultz, A. Colmenares, and R.G. Randolph. 2012. The effects of land use change and ecotourism on biodiversity: A case study of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, from 1985 to 2008. Landscape Ecology 27: 731–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, S.R. 1980. Political subjectivity: applications of Q methodology in political science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, S.R. 1986. On the ratio of Q sorts to statements. Operant subjectivity 9: 96–98.Google Scholar
  10. Chin, C.L.M., S.A. Moore, T.J. Wallington, and R.K. Dowling. 2000. Ecotourism in Bako National Park, Borneo: Visitors’ perspectives on environmental impacts and their management. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 8: 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cunha Costa, C.C., I.S. Sobral Oliveira, and L.J. Gomes. 2010. Environmental perception as strategy for ecotourism in protected areas. Estudios y Perspectivas en Turismo 19: 1121–1135. (In Spanish, English Summary).Google Scholar
  12. De Hegedus, P., and M. Vassallo. 2005. Systematization of rural development experiences with emphasis on land use in the municipalities of Montevideo, Paysandu y Tacuarembo. Montevideo, Uruguay: UDELAR-FIDA Mercosur—IICA (In Spanish).Google Scholar
  13. Dietz, T. 2013. Bringing values and deliberation to science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(13): 14081–14087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dietz, T., E. Ostrom, and P.C. Stern. 2003. The struggle to govern the commons. Science 302: 1907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DOF. 2013. Federal Official Gazette. Mexico: Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing, and Food. Fourth Section, Executive Branch, December 13 (In Spanish).Google Scholar
  16. Fairweather, J.R., and S.R. Swaffield. 2002. Visitors’ and locals’ experiences of Rotorua, New Zealand: An interpretative study using photographs of landscapes and Q method. International Journal of Tourism Research 4: 283–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Font, X., and J. Tribe. 2000. Recreation, conservation and timber production: a sustainable relationship? In Forest, tourism and recreation case studies in environmental management, ed. X. Font and J. Tribe, 1–22. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Foucat, V.S.A. 2002. Community-based ecotourism management moving towards sustainability, in Ventanilla, Oaxaca, Mexico. Ocean and Coastal Management 45: 511–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hunter, W.C. 2013. Understanding resident subjectivities toward tourism using Q method: Orchid Island, Taiwan. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 21: 331–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lai, Po-Hsin, and S.K. Nepal. 2006. Local perspectives of ecotourism development in Tawushan Nature Reserve, Taiwan. Tourism Management 27: 1117–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lee, C.F., H.I. Huang, and H.R. Yeh. 2010. Developing and evaluation model for destination attractiveness: sustainable forest recreation tourism in Taiwan. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 18: 811–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Long, P.H. 2012. Tourism impacts and support for tourism development in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: an examination of residents’ perceptions. Asian Social Science 8: 28–39.Google Scholar
  23. Manning, R.E., and L.E. Anderson. 2012. Managing outdoor recreation. Case studies in National Parks. Cambridge: CABI.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McFarlane, B.L., T.M. Beckley, E. Huddart-Kennedy, S. Nadeau, and S. Wyatt. 2011. Public views on forest management: value orientation and forest dependency as indicators of diversity. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41: 740–749. doi: 10.1139/x11-003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McKeown, B., and D. Thomas. 1988. Q methodology. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Menzies, N.K. 2007. Our forest, your ecosystem, their timber. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Münster, D., and U. Münster. 2012. Consuming the forest in an environment of crisis: nature tourism, forest conservation, and neoliberal agriculture in South India. Development and Change 43: 205–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pierce-Colfer, C.J. 2005. The equitable forest: Diversity, community, and resource management. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future and CIFOR.Google Scholar
  29. Pinheiro, I.d.F.S., V.L.A. Lima, E.M.X. Freire, and A.A. Melo. 2011. Perceptions of a community environmental caatinga on tourism: visions and prospects for tourism planning toward sustainability. Sociedade & Natureza 23: 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Previte, J., B. Pini, and F. Haslam-McKenzie. 2007. Q methodology and rural research. Sociologia Ruralis 47: 135–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ravnborg, H.M. 2003. Poverty and environmental degradation in the Nicaraguan Hillsides. World Development 31(11): 1933–1946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richardson, R.B. 2010. The contribution of tourism to economic growth and food security. Mali: Office of Economic Growth, USAID Mali—Accelarated economic growth team.Google Scholar
  33. Rodriguez-Piñeros, S., and D.K. Lewis. 2013. Analysis and deliberation as a mechanism to assess changes in preferences for indicators of sustainable forest management: A case study in Puebla, Mexico. Journal of Environmental Management 128: 52–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rodriguez-Piñeros, S., W. Focht, D. Lewis, and D. Montgomery. 2012. Incorporating values into community-scale sustainable forest management plans: An application of Q methodology. Small-scale Forestry 11: 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. SECTUR 2011. Sixth Report. Mexico Secretary of Tourism. Federal Government. Retrieved March 01, 2014, from
  36. Shuifa, K., P. Chenguang, P. Jiahua, Z. Yan, and Z. Ying. 2011. The multiplier effect of the development of forest park tourism on employment creation in China. Journal of Employment Counseling 48: 136–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Stem, C.J., J.P. Lassoie, D.R. Lee, D.D. Deshler, and J.W. Schelhas. 2003. Community participation in ecotourism benefits: The link to conservation practices and perspectives. Society and Natural Resources 16: 387–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Swinton, S.M., and R. Quiroz. 2003. Is poverty to blame for soil, pasture and forest degradation in Peru’s Altiplano? World Development 31: 1903–1919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. TIES. 1990. The definition. Retrieved March 01, 2014, from
  40. Tsaur, S.-H., Y.-C. Lin, and J.-H. Lin. 2006. Evaluating ecotourism sustainability from the integrated perspective of resource, community and tourism. Tourism Management 27(4): 640–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Van Exel, N.J.A., and G. de Graaf. 2005. Q methodology: A sneak preview. Accessed Dec 2012.
  42. Vugteveen, P., H.J. Rob, L.A. Devilee, S.E.W. Leuven, J.H.M. van der Veeren, A. Wiering, and A. Hendriks. 2010. Stakeholder value orientations in water management. Society and Natural Resources 23: 805–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Webler, T., S. Danielson, and S. Tuler. 2009. Using Q method to reveal social perspectives in environmental research. Greenfield, MA: Social and Environmental Research Institute.Google Scholar
  44. Wunder, S. 2000. Ecotourism and economic incentives: An empirical approach. Ecological Economics 32: 465–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. XOLA. 2009. Adventure travel assessment report in Mexico. México: Adventure Industry Consultants (In Spanish).Google Scholar
  46. Yanza, E.A., 2012. Designing a model for comunity-based ecotourism development in the rural area of Coroneo, Guanajuato. Revista Electrónica de Divulgación de la Investigación, 03: junio–noviembre (In Spanish).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Rodríguez-Piñeros
    • 1
  • Yesica Mayett-Moreno
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Zootecnia y EcologíaUniversidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, MéxicoChihuahuaMexico
  2. 2.Centro Interdisciplinario de PosgradosUniversidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP)PueblaMexico

Personalised recommendations