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Ecotourism Module 3 Notes_links (1).docx

Environmental Studies
Course Code
David Morris

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Ecotourism Module 3 Notes: The Mountain Biome
Important Information on Highlighting:
Green is general important information
Yellow is contextual information, based on the related topic highlighted in green
Blue is representative of definitions
Pink is representative of side notes “nice to know” information
RED represents formulas
Lesson 5: Environmental Impacts from Tourism
Lesson 5.1: Environmental Costs and Impacts
Environmental impacts can be divided into these themes:
Direct impacts from recreational activity (traditional tourism impacts)
Indirect long term impacts that affect the larger ecosystem (air/water)
Impacts from the construction and operation of facilities (e.g. an ecolodge)
Impacts from ecotourism, such as hiking (soil compaction)
Lesson 5.2: Mountain Regions
Mountains can, but often aren’t, considered to be their own ecosystem.
o This is because they are often combinations of other biomes (such as
deciduous or needleleaf forests; or alpine tundra)
These zones form along the mountains profile
Mountains can be very complex ecosystems with unique environmental issues.
This is what can make them their own ecosystem
Mountains are threatened by human activity because of their desirability as tourist
o They are also desirable for farming and mining
o There is too little land for the demand, which causes resource conflicts
Lesson 5.3: Tourist Impacts
Tourism impacts can range from sunbathing to recreational activities, hiking, bird
watching, snowmobiling, or extreme sports such as heli-skiing and white water
o Motorized machinery has a greater impact
Tourists swimming in pools and gambling at casinos can have a significant impact as
well its just not as direct
The United Nations Environment Program lists three main types of Tourist Impacts
that can occur. These include:
o UNEP Impacts:
Environmental Impacts
Natural Resources
o Puts pressure on natural resources when it increases
consumption in areas which are already scarce
o Water Resources:

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Water is one of the most critical natural
The tourism industry overuses water for hotels,
swimming pools, golf courses, and personal use.
This results in degradation of the water supply
and a greater amount of waste water
Water resources are a significant concern in dry
regions, like the Mediterranean. Because of the
dry climate, tourists can use up to 440 L per day
Golf courses are the worst violators, because
they require so much water, and often are placed
in or near protected areas: where resources are
more limited. This exacerbates the problem.
o Local Resources
Tourists have high expectations and therefore
can put extreme pressure on local resources
when tourism numbers are high
o Land Degradation
Minerals, fossil fuels, fertile soil, forests,
wetlands, and wildlife are all impacted by
tourism. Construction of tourism and
recreational facilities increases pressure on these
resources and the land. Building materials are
often the worst offenders.
Forests can be heavily impacted, because wood
for fuel and land clearing have significant
o Pollution
Air emissions, noise, and solid waste/littering.
Release of sewage, oil and chemicals, and
architectural/visual pollution.
o Air Pollution and Noise
Transport is continually increasing as tourism
increases and they become more mobile
Tourism now accounts for over 60% of air
A single transatlantic flight emits almost half
the CO2 emissions produced by an average
person yearly
Transport emissions are linked to acid rain,
global warming, and photochemical pollution
Air pollution has a global impact, contributing
to severe local pollution in high-traffic areas
Noise pollution is an increasing problem in
modern life. It can cause annoyance, stress, and

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hearing loss for people and alters animals
natural activity patterns
o Solid Waste/Littering
Waste disposal is a serious problem for areas
with high concentrations of tourist activities,
and improper disposal can be a major despoiler
of the environment.
Solid waste degrades the physical appearance of
the water and shoreline, and also causes the
death of marine animals
Trekking tourists cause a great deal of waste in
mountain areas. Tourist expeditions leave
behind their garbage, oxygen tanks, and
camping equipment. These areas do not have
proper garbage collection or disposal facilities
o Sewage
Wastewater from sewage pollutes lakes and seas
surrounding tourist locations its runoff can
cause serious damage to coral reefs (stimulating
the growth of algae which kills coral) and
changes the salinity and siltation of the coastal
environment. It also threatens the health of
humans and animals
o Aesthetic Pollution
Man-made structures can look out of place in
the natural environment
A lack of proper planning and regulation has
facilitated sprawling developments also
coastlines, valleys, or other scenic routes
including many tourist facilities
Physical Impacts
o Attractive landscape sites are usually transitional zones,
characterized by species rich ecosystems. Typical
physical impacts include the degradation of such
o The ecosystems most threatened by tourism include are
usually ecologically fragile areas such as alpine regions,
rain forests, wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs, and sea
grass beds. These threats are often severe because they
are very attractive to tourists
o Physical impacts are caused by land clearing and
construction; but also by the continuing tourist
activities and long term changes in local economies and
Physical Impacts of Tourism Development
o Construction and infrastructure development
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