Nevertheless, this hypothesis has been challenged by other studies suggesting that tourism activities stimulate deforestation and forest degradation. Research by Forsyth (1995) in northern Thailand showed that the growth of the tourism sector did not decrease agricultural pressure on forests and soil resources because households invested their income from tourism in the expansion of arable fields and increasing frequency of cultivation by hiring external Forskolin molecular weight labour. Additionally, Gaughan et al. (2009) showed that the increased number of visitors to the archaeological sites of Angkor Kwat in Cambodia accelerated deforestation in the Angkor
basin. The deforestation occurred due to increased charcoal production for new restaurants and hotels, which required wood products from forests. In the coastal areas of Hainan Island (Southern China) and the Mediterranean (Turkey), Wang and Liu (2013) and Atik et al. (2010) respectively indicated that tourism development led to a rapid increase of the built-up area. These activities resulted in a decrease of agricultural land and coastal forest, causing
landscape fragmentation and coastal erosion. In this study, we evaluate possible changes in the human–environment interactions after the development of tourism activities. Using Sa Pa district in the northern Vietnamese Highlands as a test case, we addressed the following questions: First, how has forest cover changed in learn more the period between 1993 and 2014? Second, how does forest cover change relate to tourism development? Third, what are the likely impacts of the changing human–landscape relationships on local livelihoods? Sa Pa district is located in Northern Vietnam (Fig. 1) and covers an area of ca. 680 km2. It has a total of 55,900 inhabitants (GSO, 2010) living in 17 communes and its administrative centre, Sa Pa town.
The district is considered as a gateway to the northern Vietnamese Highlands. The topography is rough, with an elevation of 180 m in the Muong Hoa valley and up to 3143 m at the Fansipan peak (highest elevation in Vietnam, located within Hoang Lien National Park). The major rivers are the Muong Hoa and Ta Trung Ho River that flow in the Red River nearby Oxymatrine Lao Cai. The region is characterized by a sub-tropical and temperate climate with an annual rainfall of 2763 mm (Frontier Vietnam, 1999). Sa Pa district is home to 6 major ethnic groups: the Hmong, the Yao, the Tày, the Giáy, the Xa Pho and the Kinh. The Tày occupied the fertile valleys and middle altitudes. The other ethnic groups such as the Hmong and Yao entered Northern Vietnam only in the 19th century (Michaud and Turner, 2006), and settled on steep forested slopes generally above 800 m. Before 1960s, there were only a few Kinh lowlanders living in Sa Pa town as the surveillance and maintenance staffs of French military (Michaud and Turner, 2006).