Green pretexts: Ecotourism, neoliberal conservation and land grabbing in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia
Colombia has had a long history with dispossesion and removal of peoples from lands. Yet, it is rarely recognized that 'green' projects, such as oil palm production, conservation, and ecotourism, are drivers of this displacement. Aiming to highlight these dynamics, this paper uses the case of ecotourism in Tayrona National Natural Park in examine the violent geographies that sustain tourism, paying particular attention to the ways that ecotourism complements land-grabbing logic. The author contrast two case-studies: one in which the local community is positioned as eco-guardians and one in which the community is positioned as eco-threats, and provides a history of touristification of the region. The data was collected via ethnographic and historical research carried out between June 2009 and April 2011.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The author argues that ecotourism in Tayrona National Natural Park has had significant effects of local livelihoods strategies due to the restructuring of control and access over natural resources via touristification. She also highlights the ways in which ecotourisma and conservation is often promoted as a develoment initiative to support local peoples, yet they are often positioned as invaders and threats within the narrative. In both cases studied, ecotourism has largely failed to deliver viable livelihood strategies or inclusive politics locally. Thus, the author calls for a re-thinking of 'green' imperatives in the post-conflict era of Colombia.
Green pretexts: Ecotourism, neoliberal conservation and land grabbing in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia. Journal of Peasant Studies. 2012;39:357–375. doi:10.1080/03066150.2012.658777..
- Graduate School of Geography, Clark University