Ecotourism as a Forest Conservation Tool: An NDVI Analysis of the Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Ecopark in Chattogram, Bangladesh

Nuzhat, Samiha 
Uddin, Sayed Mohammad Nazim  ORCID logo
Rakshit, Rahul 

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jats:pEcotourism, a sustainable form of tourism, is increasingly being viewed as a tool that can promote global biodiversity and forest conservation. This study explored the scope of ecotourism in forest conservation practices in the developing context by taking the Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Ecopark (SBGE), Bangladesh’s first ecopark established in 2000, as a case study. Using GIS and remote sensing technology, NDVI analysis revealed that, unlike the anticipated outcomes of the SBGE project, after a brief increase in vegetation coverage of 84.6% from 1995 to 2000, the vegetation coverage fell drastically from 2000 to 2015, wherein 33.4% of vegetation had been completely removed, and much of the dense and medium vegetation had been converted to sparse vegetation or other land uses. Anthropogenic activities, namely, unplanned urbanization, are suggested as the major contributors to this decline. From the period of 2015 to 2020, however, vegetation was seen to regenerate, potentially due to the decelerating urbanization or the possible manifestation of the ‘U’ shape relationship between the changes in vegetation and rates of urbanization. Sustainable land-use policies may help attain the targets of the project and lead the SBGE to emerge as a success story of the Bangladeshi ecotourism industry.</jats:p>

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3508 Tourism, 35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, 15 Life on Land
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