Emerging Trail Leader Scholarship Recipient

 

Cesar Aspiazu

La Paz, Bolivia

The motivations for participating in ITS arise from the challenges and opportunities perceived in the field from my experience in the process of implementing Long Distance Trails. In order to debate different issues emerging from LDTs and LDT Systems in the international arena, I am pursuing my PhD with the interest of understanding the particularities of each of the National FTA Systems, as well as their relations with nature conservation.

I believe that LDTs are visitation instruments that have the potential to put themselves at the service of nature conservation, promote public use, recreation, health, environmental education, employment generation, and income diversification. However, the relationships between FTAs, eco-tourism, conservation, and sustainability are not intrinsic. Studying the ways in which impacts, both positive and negative, are articulated by the directors, managers, volunteers, entrepreneurs, and users of different systems and FTAs is of particular interest to the development of more sustainable Long Range Trails. I believe that the realization of an effective Pan American Trails and Connectivity Network depends on a systemic understanding of what FTAs propose. Just as there are perceived environmental, economic, and social benefits, it is important to evaluate the potential threats that FTAs may have on natural environments and the socioeconomic structure of populations.

My participation in the STI is oriented towards generating data and providing diagnostic tools, which allow the evaluation of the socio-environmental sustainability of FTAs as landscape connectors and vectors for sustainable development.


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