The World Economic Forum estimates that economic generation from nature is worth US$44 trillion with around 21.9 million people employed in the nature tourism sector (World Travel Tourism Council 2019). With the growing demand for wildlife and adventure holidays, the increased pressure due to human movement, development and wildlife trade has had a negative impact on wildlife and ecosystems. A recent report (2019) by IPBES human activity has impacted upon 70% of Earth's land surface and around two-thirds of the oceans. Our direct and indirect impacts have resulted in a decline in habitats and ecosystem services with an estimated 68% decline in populations of monitored species such as mammals, reptiles, birds and fish since 1970 (WWF Living Planet Report 2020).
Loss of biodiversity and habitats also impacts upon sustainable livelihoods, food production, natural resources, traditional medicine as well as regulation of climate change. A raft of reports have been published in recent years (WWF, IPBES-IPCC, World Bank, etc) all giving the same message - 'we have 9 years to halt and reverse the damage done to the planet or it may be too late!'.
Human impact through tourism does not need to be harmful and there are a number of ways we can work with tourism companies and destinations to ensure the protection of habitats and species as well as provide educational opportunities for tourists, engaging with stakeholders and supporting sustainable livelihoods.
Background biodiversity screening - baseline biodiversity data acquisition and screening is an essential first step to inform tourism companies and destination partners of the key biodiversity habitats and species local to their areas of operation.
Stakeholder engagement - this is used to identify and map stakeholders who may have an interest in our client's operations. Once this is done, stakeholder engagement can take place, this can be used for managing risks as well as developing new partnerships working towards the protection and enhancement of the local ecosystems and species. The overarching goal of stakeholder engagement is to foster long-lasting partnerships.
Nature-based soloutions (NbS) - actions that address societal challenges throughthe protection, management and restoration of ecosystems which benefits both biodiversity and human well-being. In the past there have been no real frameworks or standards to follow which can lead to mismanagement and degredation of an environment. This has resulted in the NbS guidelines from the IUCN which we follow and adhere to. The first draft of the guidelines have been published and we have registered out interest to participate in the IUCN Global Standard User Group.
Rapid biodiversity assessment - where require, rapid biodiversity assessments on the ground can be undertaken. These can be used to gain further information on the species and habitats close to a destination, can be used in DMPs, can be used to develop initiatives for tourism and also act as local conservation projects.
Ecosystem management - Organeco advocates using the mitigation hierarchy approach to managing projects and can work with clients to develop action plans and habitat management plans, educational and outreach plans and participatory development within the area surrounding the tourism destination
Strategy and policy - Corporate strategy and policy development in relation to conservation and wildlife protection can be a complicated area. At Organeco we work with our clients to ensure that their corporate policies and strategies support both biodiversity and ecosystem protection, embedding these values into CSR or ESG strategies.
Animal Welfare and tourism- Organeco is a partner of the leading global tourism consultancy specialising in animal tourism work and is proud to support their work and be part of their animal protection network. In conjunction with this, both partners are committed to ensuring the promotion, protection and enhancement of biodiversity within tourist destinations.