Ecotourism is characterized by its relationship with conservation, sustainability, and biological diversity. As a development tool, ecotourism can advance the three basic goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity:
conserve biological (and cultural) diversity, by strengthening protected area management systems (public or private) and increasing the value of sound ecosystems;
promote the sustainable use of biodiversity, by generating income, jobs and business opportunities in ecotourism and related business networks, and
share the benefits of ecotourism developments equitably with local communities and indigenous people, by obtaining their informed consent and full participation in planning and management of ecotourism businesses.
In the field, well-planned and managed ecotourism has proven to be one of the most effective tools for long-term conservation of biodiversity when the right circumstances (such as market feasibility, management capacity at local level, and clear and monitored links between ecotourism development and conservation) are present.
The Following web sites provide information on conservation, including:
- IUCN Red List
- Information about organizations working to conserve species and their habitats
- Information on conservation projects being carried out around the world.