Yellowstone National Park spans the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho in the USA. It is famous worldwide. Since their creation in 1872, most 'protected natural areas' have been considered as probably the greatest achievement of nature conservation. Many countries have such spaces within their territories and many visitors, native or foreign, use some of their free time to get to know them. In this sense these spaces undertake to conserve nature and educate society and give us a kind of cultural tourism that has grown considerably in recent decades. Cultural tourism today specifically includes, along with cities, museums, monuments and rural traditions, the aim of 'getting to know nature'. Protected natural areas are ideal for this. The tourism industry has realised this and so the value of the landscape and natural resources is becoming increasingly recognised. This is a welcome development and represents a challenge for tourism management, for environmental education and for dissemination of nature and conservation. This volume of the series Tourism Today considers the evolving relationship between tourism and protected natural areas. The contributions selected are papers that were presented at relevant conferences organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology.
Maria F. Schmitz is a professor of ecology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid since 1994. PhD in biology (1990), she has extensive experience in landscape ecology. She has participated as a researcher in several projects funded by public calls and contracts, in recent years as a coordinator of several of them. She has published numerous papers in various forums, most recently in J. Biogeography, Landscape and Urban Planning, Environm. Monitoring & Assessment, Environm. Management, Ecological Indicators, Environm. Conservation, Biol. Conservation, Ecol. Modelling, etc., as well as books and chapters of books of her specialty - the last one Pineda, F. & Schmitz, MF 2011. Ecological connectivity. OAPN, Ministry of Environment, Madrid - , Sustainable Tourism I, II, III, IV. Wit Press, Southampton; Advanced computing techniques. Aconcagua, Sevilla; Nova Science Publ., New York, among others.