Pritzker Projects | 2000

Sustainable tourism in Colombia: Biocultural values

“No Music Without Trees or Birds: A Spatial Analysis of Cultural Reliance and Relationships to Endemic Flora and Fauna Species in Colombia”

Pritzker Award Affiliate: Alejandra Echeverri, Conservation Scientist, Stanford University

Impact Fellow: Katherine Hernandez (IoES doctoral student)

Faculty Advisor: Dan Blumstein & Ursula Heise

Project objective: 

People travel to the most biodiverse places in the world to find charismatic wildlife, such as lions and tigers. People also travel to admire the world’s majestic heritage sites to learn about past civilizations and enjoy modern culture, for example by experiencing archaeological sites and music festivals.

Several developing countries, including Colombia, are betting on tourism as the sector that brings the most opportunities for sustainable development, building upon its biodiversity and rich cultural heritage. Planning and executing a sustainable tourism strategy requires science that can help prioritize investments in sustainable tourism projects. Columbia currently lacks an evaluation of the potential for both culture-based tourism and nature-based tourism; to identify where and how it makes sense to invest in the growing tourism demand.

This project’s objective is to evaluate the spatial relationships between endemic species of plants and animals and cultural practices in Colombia. Specifically, we aim to: (A) evaluate the extent to which endemic species contribute to the cultural practices (e.g., music, food, artesanias) in Colombian landscapes, and (B) understand the relative range sizes of species-dependent cultural practices to evaluate how threatened the yare by global drivers of change.