Ecotourism for conservation: a case study of the Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique.

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Sekkat, Myriam


Pimm, Stuart

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There is an inherent tension between ecotourism and conservation, fueling the debate around whether ecotourism contributes to conservation or represents a deceiving marketing ploy. A 2005 meta-analysis concluded that ecotourism only contributes to conservation when communities are involved, management is efficient, revenues are significant, and flagship species are present. Using the Maputo Special Reserve (MSR) in Mozambique as a case study, I assess the joint governmental and non-governmental ecotourism-based strategy's contribution to conservation. The partnership currently deploys with substantial donor funding to attain financial sustainability. Some conservationists question this approach. It is pivotal to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses and what the lessons learned highlight.

In the MSR's case, the findings suggest that ecotourism might be the only realistic conservation pathway. The joint partnership's political leverage and ecotourism approach might have stalled the process of taking over essential conservation areas for developmental purposes. Indeed, competing interests for alternative land-uses, smuggling, and other illicit activities threaten the MSR and adjacent Ponta do Ouro Marine Reserve (PPMR). Operational successes lie in rewilding, anti-poaching, and strengthened management. However, the partners should invest thoughtfully in relations with communities, be cautious with remaining concessions, think of cross-financing strategies with the PPMR, and develop a robust monitoring and evaluation framework.





Sekkat, Myriam (2021). Ecotourism for conservation: a case study of the Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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