Tourism has increased by more than 100% between 1990 and 2000 in the world’s biodiversity hotspots, regions richest in species and facing extreme threats (Christ et al.2003). The distinguishing feature of ecotourism should be that it benefits biodiversity conservation (Brandon & Margoulis 1999). Although nature-based tourism (often incorrectly called eco-tourism), a growing economic sector in India, does generate economic support for conservation (Karanth & DeFries 2011), the ecological fallouts of these activities are seldom examined. Furthermore, policy and regulations pertaining to such tourism is either absent or drafted based on little to no understanding of the actual workings of the ecology or socio-economics of nature tourism activities. Existing policy is often incorrect or limited in its view of impacts, and inadequate to curb or mitigate real impacts. The need for a deeper, empirical understanding of the ecological ramifications of activities and infrastructure centred on nature tourism is urgent.
Thus, by comparing forest vegetation structure and composition, as well as wildlife habitat use across these two zones (all else being equal), one might gain a broad and coarse picture of the differences in these variables, presumably wrought by tourism.