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Economic Tools for Protected Area Tourism in Brazil

In early August, CSF and the Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio), in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS), held a four day training on Economic and Financial Feasibility of Supporting Services for Visitation of Conservation Units (Unidades de Conservação - UCs) at the Biodiversity National Academy (ACADEBio), in Iperó, Brazil.

CSF curso ACADEBioCourse participants and instructors.

The course was attended by twenty-two members of the ICMBio from nine different states in Brazil who are responsible for protected areas management, three employees of the ACADEBio and one entrepreneur from the community-based tourism sector in the Amazon state. The goal of the course was to give participants an understanding of how to use economic tools to make decisions about developing tourism activities and allocating resources in the UCs.

CSF curso ACADEBioSusan Edda Seehusen introducing the course.

The course instructors included Prof. Jorge Madeira Nogueira from the University of Brasilia (UNB), Prof. Wilson Cabral de Sousa Júnior from the Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA), Susan Edda Seehusen (CSF) and Pedro Gasparinetti Vasconcellos (CSF).

CSF curso ACADEBio
Prof. Wilson Cabral giving a Cost Benefit Analysis lecture.

The course consisted of lectures, experimental games and group exercises. We began with ICMBio addressing the context of public use and businesses in UCs in Brazil. We then covered the basics of microeconomics and market theory, followed by discussions related to market failures and externalities.

CSF curso ACADEBioParticipants buying and selling potatoes in a simulated market game.

The course continued with ecosystem services, how to value them and payment for environmental services (PES) schemes. Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) as applied to public use concessions in UCs that have public use was also covered. Several examples and case studies, related to UCs, were shown to illustrate these concepts. Finally, participants got a chance to put their knowledge into practice through a group exercise about the CBA of a concession in a UC. The course concluded with presentations of the results of this exercise.

CSF curso ACADEBioCourse participants working together on the CBA group exercise.

Participants provided great feedback about the course:

"The course was an important tool to understand a little more about the economics related to our UC management! We want to learn more about this topic! The discussions with colleagues, the new and old friendships, and the moments shared with joy were also important. Thank you!"

"It is very gratifying to participate in meetings where we can share experiences and knowledge that strengthen the implementation of positive agendas. In this context, the economic tools learned are important instruments, which can contribute to quality UC management if well implemented. Thanks, CSF."

Photos credit: Marion Le Failler.