Refining the Ecosystems Services Model: Integrating Animal Behavior into Ecotourism Management

Katie C. Surrey, Caitlin R. Hawley, Olivia N. Davis, Jared L. Clements, Isabella Bernat, Leah R. Gerber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As life on Earth has entered a sixth mass extinction driven by pervasive human impacts, there is a growing need for research that effectively identifies and resolves potential conflicts between wildlife and humans. While developing solutions on how to mitigate adverse interactions between humans and wildlife is of critical importance, there is notably less research on the impact of animal behavior shifts on the quality of ecosystem services that humans benefit from, such as those derived from ecotourism activities, that are fundamentally based on people’s ability to witness natural animal behaviors. These human-wildlife interactions can lead to valuable contributions to conservation and economic opportunities for local communities. However, studies have revealed that drastic behavior changes occur when wildlife populations are subjected to high levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Building on the understanding that human and animal behaviors are strongly linked through complex social-ecological feedback systems and utilizing the existing ecosystem frameworks, this chapter highlights the need for better understanding of the current wildlife-based ecotourism models and how they might become better adapted into the future. The year-long COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity for the current practices to be adapted, and emerging questions about the on-going relationship between humans and wildlife need to be investigated to establish more effective ecosystem management interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationImperiled
Subtitle of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Conservation: Volume 1-3
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128211397
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Anthropogenic disturbance
  • Behavior change
  • Biosocial systems
  • Conservation
  • Covid-19
  • Ecosystem benefits
  • Ecosystem management
  • Ecotourism
  • Human-wildlife interactions
  • Socioeconomics
  • Wildlife

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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