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Eric Taber ’13: Road Development Along the Annapurna Trekking Circuit, Annapurna Region, Nepal

By Peter Tschirhart on August 12, 2013
A biology and geography double major from Ohio, Eric traveled to Nepal to investigate the relationship between development, the trekking industry, and conservation practices within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). Entrance fees from trekkers currently finance conservation and development projects in the ACA. However, recent construction of an unpaved road along the circuit threatens the reputation of the area as a trekking mecca and the decreasing numbers of trekkers have raised questions over the future financing of conservation projects in the area. Eric used survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to identify reasons for local citizens’ support for ongoing road construction. Although the ACA has been widely hailed as in integrated conservation and development project success story, his work revealed that the community development projects and social benefits financed by trekking tourism in the ACA do not outweigh the promise of road construction for locals. Current road construction has opened the door to further development in the area and will likely result in decreased revenue from trekkers and decreases in funding for conservation projects. Eric plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Geography after graduating from Colgate.
Eric Taber in Nepal.

Eric Taber in Nepal.

Coming up with the initial idea for your research project may be the hardest part of the fellowship proposal process,” Eric writes. “I recommend considering what you are truly passionate about, whether that is a topic that caught your interest during lecture, a topic that you read about on your own time, or something that you plan on pursuing post-Colgate. The options you can pursue with an AMS Research Fellowship are innumerable; few other funding opportunities provide grants with so few strings attached. Take full advantage of that and do something that you are passionate about.

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