Wilderness Protection or Exploitation?

That’s your job to figure out… 

The purpose of this webpage is to explore the history and development of National Forest Parks (NFPs) in China before and since the establishment of the first National Forest Park back in 1982 (Wang et al., 2012).

NFPs run a fine line between being a form of wilderness protection and exploitation.

On one hand, they help educate tourists about the environment, they set aside areas of natural forests, and they create funding through tourist revenue for scientific research and conservation efforts. On the other hand, the opportunity for commercialization and industrial development, as well as the desire to constantly increase the number of tourists, leaves NFPs vulnerable to environmental destruction (Chen & Nakama, 2013).

Figure 1: Skyline view of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Figure 1: Skyline view of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Image: (Fong, 2006).

Here are some questions to consider as you browse our site:

  • Do the benefits of tourism outweigh the environmental consequences found in NFPs?
  • Are NFPs more beneficial than leaving forests vulnerable to ownership by the private sector?
  • What roles do power and privilege play in maintaing the status quo?
  • What solutions do you think might help to lessen the burden of tourism on the environment?

Start your educational journey here



Chen, B., & Nakama, Y. (2013). Thirty years of forest tourism in china. Journal of Forest Research,  18(4), 285-292. doi: 10.1007/s10310-012-0365-y

Fong, C. (Photographer). (2006). 张家界砂岩峰林 [Photograph]. Wickimedia. Retrieved December 6, 2016 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E5%BC%A0%E5%AE%B6%E7%95%8C%E7%A0%82%E5%B2%A9%E5%B3%B0%E6%9E%97.jpg

Galindo, C. A. (Photographer) (2014). Zhangjiajie [Photograph]. Flickr. Retrieved December 6, 2016 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/cadampol/17405916911

Wang, G.,Innes, J. L., Wu, S.Vy’., Krzyzanowski, J., Yin, Y., Dai, S., . . . Liu, S. (2012). National park development in China: Conservation or commercialization. Ambio, 41(3), 247 -261. doi : 10.1007/s13280-011-0194-9