Can Monte-Carlo Simulations of Birding Data Encourage Birders to Stay Longer at Ecuadorian Ecotourism Facilities?

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Conservationists have maligned birders for their contribution to environmental protection, yet birders spend money on local bird conservation, and many, at great expense, travel to bird-rich areas paying ecolodges, reserves and bird tour companies for this privilege. If fact, bird tours are a multi-million dollar business here in North American and Europe and birding destinations across the world. For instance, each Macaw observed at a clay-lick in Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru can in its lifetime generate approximately $750-$4700 annually in tourist receipts. So although birders spend quite large sums of money in the tropics, an analysis of diminishing returns in new birds species observed for additional day(s) spent at a lodge has not been attempted. Such an analysis is pertinent, critical and innovative because birders are a lucrative trade for neotropical ecolodges, even Tiputini Biodiversity Station hosting just a few dedicated bird groups each year, has a permanent birdguide. The typical Neotropical rainforest tour package offered by ecolodges aimed bird tour groups is a three-day, three-night package. Assuming birders and bird tour groups seek to maximize the number of new bird species observed each day a Monte Carlo simulation of diminishing returns using birder's lists available at Birding.com suggests diminishing returns occur only on the fifth day. We conclude that ecolodges throughout Ecuador are underselling themselves and should promote longer stays for birders and bird tour groups at their lodges both as a means to increase income and sponsor local conservation effects.


Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting (AAG)


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