Saturday, August 17, 2013

Forest values, more than dollars makes sense

Is a mature public forest a savings bond at maturation, ready to cash out for spending money? Is a public forest more valuable than its present cash value?  Do we need intact mature public forest lands held inviolate?

Shawnee State Forest, Ohio's "Little Smokies"

Consider the following typology of forest values definitions. You decide.

Forest values:

Aesthetic value--Valuing forest for enjoying scenery, sights, sounds, smells, etc.

Recreation value--Valuing forest because it provides a place for enjoyable outdoor recreation activities.

Learning value--Valuing forest because in forest we learn about the environment through scientific observation or experimentation.

Life sustaining value--Valuing forest because it helps produce, preserve, clean, and renew air, soil, and water.

Climate mitigation value--Valuing forest because it helps mitigate climate change by removing and sequestering atmospheric carbon.

Biological diversity value--Valuing forest because it conserves genetic diversity, species diversity, and biological community diversity.

Wildlife conservation value--Valuing forest because it provides a variety of fish, game and non-game wildlife, insect life, and plant life, etc.

Economic value--Valuing forest because it provides timber, alternative forest products, fisheries, minerals, or tourism opportunities such as amenities and services including outfitting and guiding services.

Spiritual value--Valuing forest because it is a sacred, religious, or spiritually special place, or inspires feelings of reverence and respect for nature.

Intrinsic value--Valuing forest in and of itself for its existence, no matter what other people think about forest.

Historic value--Valuing forest because it holds places and things of human and natural history that matter to individuals, peoples, or nations.

Future value--Valuing forest because it will allow future generations to know and experience forest as it is at present.

Subsistence value--Valuing forest because it provides necessary food and supplies to sustain subsisting families.

Therapeutic value--Valuing forest because it inspires physical and mental renewal contributing to happiness.

Cultural value--Valuing forest because it is a place to continue and pass down to future generations wisdom and knowledge, traditions, and a way of life sustained by ancestors to the present generation.

The typology presented is modified from Brown, Gregory and Patrick Reed 2000. Validation of a Forest Values Typology for use in National Forest Planning. Forest Science 46(2).


Celina said...

This is great!

Tom Bain said...

Thank you for checking our GeoEcology, Celina. I expect to have more on forest issues coming up soon.