The Ecotourism Game
Bring in an international conservation organization
Tony and Anna, two gringos from Rainforest Relief, come to
Pangayacu to help with the ecotourism project. They help the Quichua build
tourist cabins and a dining hall. They scout out trails for hikes through
the rainforest. They train two of your neighbors to be guides, showing tourists
around the community.
You and your neighbors are pleased with the work that Tony
and Anna are doing. But Tony and Anna are interested in more than the tourist
project. They want to help with everyday matters. They encourage people
to conserve what rainforest is left. They ask people to stop hunting, because
tourists like to see parrots and small animals in the forest. When your
uncle Patricio clears half a hectare (one and a quarter acres) of primary
forest and plants more maize in its place, Tony and Anna talk to him for
a long time. The following week they come to the community meeting and propose
a ban on forest-clearing and hunting. They say that the rainforest belongs
to everyone in the world, and it isn't right for anyone to cut more of it
Many of your neighbors are angry after the meeting. Their
land is theirs--it doesn't belong to some gringos in the United States.
If ecotourism means giving up their rights to their land, they want nothing
of it. These feelings are common among the Quichua of Pangayacu. Tony and
Anna's plans are doomed. Another community meeting is called to resolve
|There has been little change in land use. Currently about a third of all community land is primary rainforest.
||Families are enjoying their extra income from tourism. At this rate, each household will make about $300 more this year than last year.
What do you want to do?
Kick out Tony and Anna and run the project yourselves?
Give up on ecotourism altogether?