Ecotourism Activities for Sustainability and Management of Forest Protected Areas: A Case of Camili Biosphere Reserve Area, Turkey
Ongoing altering interests of communities and diversified attitudes and behavior regarding forest resources have affected basic forest management policies. In this context, it seems necessary to provide sustainable economic and social development without endangering forest resources for today and future generations. “Sustainable forest management” is defined as operating forests and the biological diversity, fertility, ecological, social, and economic functions of forest lands in a sustainable way. Protected areas cover special, precious, and rare examples and species that are of utmost importance for science and education. For target management of protected areas, it is necessary to select an approach that includes sustainability and conservation of biological diversity. An important sustainability issue arises here. In addition, it is seen in most forest lands that villagers create a meaningful whole with protected areas. It should not be forgotten that the most important group with which Turkish forestry must communicate is forest villagers within the framework of sustainable forestry (Geray, 1998). Ecotourism is a kind of tourism that aims to raise the life standard of forest villagers, contribute to the national economy, and increase awareness of the structure of natural and cultural values. Ecotourism also provides sustainability of environmental resources and excludes activities aiming for short-term profits (Alkan et al., 2010), (Akıllı, 2004), (Porsuk, 2000).
In this study, conducted in Camili Biosphere Reserve in Artvin; suggestions including the use of ecotourism and the importance of public relations for the development of forest villagers have been put forth to explain the relationship between protected areas and sustainable forestry management and to solve problems in the sustainability process of the protected areas. Forest villagers were selected according to a full-count method. Questionnaires included such variables as forest villagers’ personal information of every age group, socioeconomic effects of ecotourism activities, and destruction of the environment. These variables have been measured in terms of before and after ecotourism. In the process of evaluating the results, percentage, chi-square, paired t tests, and Wilcoxon analyses have been used (Aydın, 2010), (Demirayak, 2006).
KeywordsEcotourism Forest protected areas Forest villagers Forestry management Public relations Sustainability
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