Publication by DPDF 2009 Revitalizing Development Studies Fellow John A. Zinda, Jianmei Yang, Ximing Xue, and Hai Cheng:
Community-based tourism is often undertaken as a tool to accomplish rural development while reducing natural resource use, but research on household livelihoods suggests that tourism may substitute for or complement resource use activities depending on how households allocate a variety of assets. Drawing on intensive qualitative research and a household survey in communities with and without tourism operations in a protected area in southwest China, we examine impacts of tourism participation on non-timber forest product collection and livestock holdings. Impacts of tourism differ across resource uses and between tourism communities, due to specific ways tourism draws on labor and material inputs. Emerging commercial agriculture and off-farm labor simultaneously impact resource use, while tourism generates demand for labor and farm products from communities without tourism operations. The impacts of tourism on resource use depend on how tourism participation enters into asset allocation processes within particular social and biophysical landscapes.