All ecosystems, including forests, provide valuable ‘ecosystem services’ for people.
Ecosystem services include:
- Resources for basic survival (e.g.food, shelter)
- A contribution to physical and mental health, (e.g access to green spaces)
- Natural processes (e.g. climate regulation, cleansing of water/ air, decomposition)
- Support for a strong and healthy economy (e.g raw materials for industry, tourism and recreation opportunities)
- Social, cultural and educational benefits.
The government is becoming more interested in ensuring that the value of the services the natural environment provides is fully taken into account in decision-making. They hope this will lead to a better integrated management of land, water, and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way.
This approach places human well-being as the central focus for assessment, while recognising that biodiversity and ecosystems also have intrinsic value. It also recognises that people take decisions concerning ecosystems based on considerations of well-being as well as intrinsic value.