Research activities as a means of protection?

My research focuses on the ecological consequences of tourism and visitor use to parks and protected areas. The activities that I am interested in are all legal uses of parks and protected areas and the negative consequences of tourism that concern me are those that are the result of carelessness or ignorance.  However, the integrity of parks and protected areas – both in the United States  and abroad – are threatened by illegal actions as well. Poaching, logging, and illegal encroachment are of great concern for protected areas around the world.  While researching issues of national security on federal lands, I came across an interesting opinion piece published this year (online only at the time of writing this post) in Trends in Ecology and Evolution by  William Laurance; a professor out of Australia with a research focus on conservation biology. In the piece, Laurance speculates that the mere action of doing research in protected areas may have the added benefit of safeguarding the area.

Evidence of illegal logging activities in Mt. Cagua protected area

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