Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The impacts of tourism on biodiversity hotspots: research opportunities and dilemmas

Mason, S. M., Moore, S., Newsome, D. and Hobbs, R.J. (2007) The impacts of tourism on biodiversity hotspots: research opportunities and dilemmas. In: ISSRM 2007 13th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management: landscape continuity and change, 17 - 21 June, Park City, Utah


Tourism is growing rapidly and is one of the world’s largest industries. It is clearly linked to biodiversity-rich biomes, such as tropical rainforests and coral reefs, and destinations with abundant collections of birds, fish and/or mammal species or novel and unusual species. As such, high levels of tourism and biodiversity often occur together. The maintenance of biodiversity then becomes critically important for tourism as well as a suite of other reasons. Little is known however about the complex interactions between tourism and biodiversity. This paper explores the opportunities and dilemmas in researching this interface and the associated interactions.

A significant and under-researched opportunity is exploring the potentially symbiotic (positive) relationships at this interface and moving beyond a previous focus on conflictive (negative) interactions. Another opportunity is developing a transdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between tourism and biodiversity integrating environmental, social and economic concerns. An associated challenge is the different paradigmatic locations of ecologists, sociologists and economists, both within and between these disciplines. Two other dilemmas are confusion over the definition of biodiversity and a lack of knowledge about ecosystems and how they function. Both have the potential to impede research efforts. The paper concludes by recommending some future possibilities for researching this important interface between tourism and biodiversity hotspots.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Conference Website:
Item Control Page Item Control Page