Benefits of Forest and Wildlife Resources
In addition to wildlife resources providing people with wood and other plant products for food, construction and income, and ecosystem services such as freshwater, soil protection and climate regulation, forests are also major habitat for wildlife.
Wildlife likewise provides both products (e.g. honey, bush meat, even edible insects), and ecosystem services (e.g. pollination and seed dispersal).
On a global scale, the goods and services provided by forest and wildlife resources are worth billions of dollars. Added to this is their cultural and spiritual value which cannot be monetized.
1. Cultural Benefit
Cultural benefits refers to the nonmaterial benefits that people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation and aesthetic experience, including, for example, knowledge systems, social relations, and aesthetic values.
2. Sacred Groove
Sacred groves are tracts of virgin forest with rich diversity, which have been protected by the local people for centuries for their cultural and religious beliefs and taboos that the deities reside in them and protect the villagers from different calamities.
Every sacred grove carries its own legends, lore, and myths which form the integral part of the sacred grove.
Sanctuary is an area which is of adequate ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, natural or zoological significance.
The Sanctuary is declared for the purpose of protecting, propagating or developing wildlife or its environment. Certain rights of people living inside the Sanctuary could be permitted.
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4. Commercial Benefit
There is strong evidence that as national incomes increase, rates of under-nutrition fall.
Income is clearly an important factor contributing to falling global rates of under-nutrition (FAO 2012).
Forest income contributes about 1/5th of the income of rural households in developing countries.
5. Recreational Benefit
The social values of forest recreation deal mainly with intangible beneﬁts such as aesthetic qualities as well as the enhancement of psychological and physical health (e.g. Tyrväinen et al., 2005; Ward Thompson 2007).
Forests, especially within or near urban areas, provide aesthetic enjoyment and create a pleasant environment for many outdoor activities.
Forest and wildlife together provides recreational activities such as hunting, photography, relaxation, hiking and bird catching.
6. Flood Control
It is commonly believed that forests are necessary to regulate stream flow and reduce runoff, and to some extent this is true. But, in reality, forests tend to be rather extravagant users of water, which is contradictory to earlier thinking (FAO 2003).
Considerable quantities of rainfall (up to 35 per cent) are commonly intercepted by the canopies of tropical forests and evaporated back into the atmosphere without contributing to soil water reserves.
7. Research Purpose
Forest and wildlife provides an abundant array for study, projects and learning. Till date Man has not fully tapped from the vast varieties of both forest and wildlife resources.
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In summary, from the fore going the cultural, commercial, aesthetics, academic and economic benefits of forest and wildlife resources cannot be over-emphasized. Man will continue to depend on these nature reserves.
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