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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Preferred Name

Jordan Flagel

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Elisabeth Conrad

Maria C. Papadakis

Abstract

Protected areas in tropical rainforests serve many important ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration. These areas are often in need of donor or grant funding to operate as governments in tropical forested countries are not always able to provide adequate funds for protection. This paper focuses on the Iwokrama International Center for Rainforest Conservation and Development in the South American country of Guyana, which has had funding issues since the global economic crisis of 2008 and an accompanying shift in donor country financial priorities. Increasing the amount of sustainable ecotourism in the Iwokrama reserve was identified as a potential source for earning enough revenue to offset external funding losses. Current Iwokrama tourism capacity was evaluated and a formula was created to determine the highest possible amount of ecotourism revenue based on sustaining maximum capacity over the course of a calendar year. Findings indicated that sustainable tourism has the potential to contribute US$853,940 in funding if 1,464 guests could be sustained for an entire year (25% of full capacity). This would be an increase of US$598,250 from the 2013 tourism revenue of US$255,690 brought in by 605 tourists (10.33% of full capacity). The increased revenue would be very useful in making up for the 40% drop in grants and donor funding between 2012 and 2013 which caused severe austerity measures to be implemented and nearly resulted in termination of operations. Recommendations for attaining this level of ecotourism were made pertaining to marketing and partnerships with international organizations.

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