Tourism with a Hand Lens in the Tropics

Cape Horn held a special place in the recent Ibero-American Conference on Biodiversity and Ecotourism, held from 9-12 November at the National Biodiversity Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica. Bringing together invited lecturers from Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Spain, this event offered a forum to discuss how biodiversity is being used in sustainable tourism, and also what are the impacts of tourism on biodiversity. In this context, Dr. Christopher Anderson, in representation of the Omora Alliance (UNT, UMAG and IEB) presented the experience of Tourism with a Hand Lens. In his analysis of the state of ecotourism/biodviersity in the extreme south of the Americas, he showed how traditionally small areas of the region (e.g., penguin colonies) or particular large fauna (including exotic species) have been included in tourism ventures. Even Charles Darwin himself observed in the early 1800s that Patagonia only had a few lizards and birds. However, in reality thanks to the research at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, today we not only know, but can appreciate the amazing, and sometimes small, diversity of life found in the subantarctic ecoregion. This approach, including Tourism with a Hand Lens, was so well received by the participants of the conference that a special segment for Costa Rican television was filmed. Check soon for a link to the video.