Ecotourism influence on community needs and the functions of protected areas: a systems thinking approach

Moren Tibabo Stone, Gyan Nyaupane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Using the community capitals framework with a systems thinking lens, we explored how the development of ecotourism has influenced changes in community needs that in turn have influenced the functions of protected areas (PAs). Data collected through semi-structured interviews and secondary sources, the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust, located adjacent to Chobe National Park in Botswana, provide the research context. Results indicated that ecotourism development has led to stock accumulation of the natural capital in the form of wildlife. On the other hand, ecotourism development through the prevalence of cash flow and reinvestment in agriculture transformed agricultural practices and increased the demand of land for ploughing and henceforth heightened community–wildlife conflicts. Consequently, competing use of land for agriculture, wildlife, and tourism establishments has the potential to alter the functions of PAs in their effort to accommodate new changes. The domino effect induced by the introduction of ecotourism in a rural and isolated area leads to community prosperity that changes community needs and priorities, triggering unintended environmental consequences that further require PAs adaptive mitigation interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-246
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Ecotourism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2017


  • Botswana
  • Nature-based tourism
  • capital stocks and flows
  • community capitals framework
  • wildlife-based ecotourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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