Title: Living with world heritage rainforests: measuring community perceptions

Authors: Julie Carmody, Bruce Prideaux

Addresses: School of Business, James Cook University, PO Box 6811 Cairns, Queensland, Australia. ' School of Business, James Cook University, PO Box 6811 Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Abstract: There is general agreement in the literature that the most effective management of resources such as parks occurs when there is a high level of engagement with the community. The Wet Tropics rainforests located in the north of Queensland, Australia were listed as a World Heritage Area in 1988 and since then the management agency, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, has built an extensive network of committees to engage with the community. The listing of the Wet Tropics has also created a new range of opportunities for community-based enterprises to engage in the rainforest tourism sector. This paper reports on the perceived advantages and disadvantages of living within the Wet Tropics bioregion as reported by community members and compares these results with the findings of a 2002 survey of community values. Over the five year period community perceptions have remained very positive about the rainforest|s contribution to residents| quality of life. This paper also highlights how effective management of the Wet Tropics has provided ideal conditions for the development of community-based entrepreneurship within the tourism sector.

Keywords: community entrepreneurship; forest management; rainforests; Wet Tropics; World Heritage Area; community perceptions; Australia; community enterprise; rainforest tourism; regional development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIRD.2010.029857

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 2010 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.96 - 111

Published online: 02 Dec 2009 *

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