Ecological, Cultural and Participation (ECP) Method for the Development of Ecotourism Planning and Management Strategies: Example of Ugursuyu and Aksu Basins
The study area consists of the639 km2of the Ugursuyu and Aksu watersheds are located midway between the cities of Istanbul and Ankara. Thus, due to their the amenable climate, abundant natural resources and natural setting, rich historical background, provincial lifestyle customs and proximity to metropolitan centers, these sites offer a wealth of opportunity for a variety of eco-tourism activities.
The basic purposes of the study were to combine natural, cultural and social data, to develop ecotourism-centered rural development strategies after analyses and syntheses, to make landscape planning decisions and to develop an ecotourism management model for the ecosystems within the landscapes of the study area. In the study, a three-step method was implemented. In the first step, an inventory and database regarding the area were gathered. Information such as the climatic conditions, soil, geology, hy¬drology, flora, fauna, socio-economic structure, village settlements, agriculture, forestry, tourism etc. were transferred into the digital medium through Geographical Information System (GIS), and a valid database was created in the ArcGIS 9.3 program.
In the second step, in order to identify the potential of ecotourism, a joint assessment was made by employing the environmental corridor method, the ecotourism opportunities spectrum (ECOS) method and cultural landscape analysis. In the third step, an evaluation was carried out covering the ecotourism potential of the area and the residential units. A visual landscape analysis was based on assessments by both experts and users. The changes in landscape patterns and habitat functions were then determined using related methods. In addition, collaborative ecotourism planning was carried out by conducting a survey of the stakeholders to ensure stakeholder cooperation and input.
As a result of related analyses and assessments, a landscape plan was prepared for the project area and strategies that were developed for an ecotourism-centered rural development model was proposed.
Keywords: Aksu, Ecotourism, Management, Participation, Rural Development, Landscape Planning, Ugursuyu