The rapid disappearance of traditional agricultural landscapes is a worldwide concern. How to balance the needs between conservation and development has become a major policy issue. Based on a case study of the Hani Rice Terraces - a mosaic agricultural landscape composed of forests, villages, rice terraces and water system in Yunnan, China, this article examines the issues pertaining to tourism development and its impact on the relationship between the Hani Rice Terraces and their custodian communities. It also discusses measures to strengthen the resilience of rural communities to adapt to changing socio-economic conditions. Drawing on a comparison between the Hani Rice Terraces and the Ifugao rice terraces, this article proposes an endogenous development strategy aiming at harnessing tourism for poverty reduction and enhancing community custodianship. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.