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Power Strategies for Ecotourism in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (Brazil) for Implementing Payments for Ecosystem Services

Carolina Dutra de Araujo, Max Krott, Christiane Hubo


Ecotourism is considered an important activity provided by natural ecosystem services in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago through recreation opportunities. Since 2010, the Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park has been experiencing a private-public partnership between the park’s management and a concessionaire, imposing fees to visitors in order to provide sustainable facilities to some attractions of the protected area. Payments for ecosystem services schemes are being implemented in many parts of the world in an effort to promote environmental protection, showing positive outcomes. Therefore, the objective of this study is to analyse the empirical case of payments for ecosystem services through ecotourism based on economic and political theory. The economic theory identifies the economic processes generated by the payments, while the political theory identifies the political actors and their respective power strategies that aid in the implementation of a specific scheme of payments for ecosystem services. Furthermore, the aim of the study is to determine which factors are successful in utilizing payments for ecosystem services as an instrument to preserve ecosystems via ecotourism. Moreover, the paper links an economic approach to power theories, which is a dynamic perspective on tourism studies. To reach the results, economic and political factors are identified according to existing theory and are then compared with empirical evidence from the archipelago. The most powerful actors that have influence on the ecotourism activities were interviewed in order to determine their power elements as well as their level of support for the payments, according to the power analysis that take into consideration the following power elements: coercion, incentives, and disincentives and dominant information. The economic analysis shows that payments for ecosystem services sufficiently meet the standards of the economic model and the political analysis explains this success by the influence of various powerful actors in Fernando de Noronha. Furthermore, the results support the hypothesis that only payments for ecosystem services which can gain the support of powerful actors are effective in practice.

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Brazil; ecotourism; Fernando de Noronha; payments for ecosystem services; power elements; powerful actors

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