Society and the Services of Forests

  • Alexander Mather
Part of the World Forests book series (WFSE, volume 1)


Forest resources and forest lands shall be managed and used sustainably to fulfill social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations(United Nations 1993).

This is amongst the most striking of the Non-Legally Binding Forest Principles agreed at UNCED in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The practical significance of this and other principles can be debated endlessly. What is clear, however, is that the statement reflects a recognition that forests have values that transcend those of timber and other material products. At the end of the 20th century, the perceived values of forest services are arguably increasing relative to those of material goods, especially in the developed world. In the United States, for example, forests have been increasingly viewed as environments and as aesthetic resources, rather than simply as sources of timber and other commodities (Hays 1987). Their non-human, i.e., intrinsic, values are also being increasingly expressed (Bengston 1994). Some service functions of forests have, of course, been long recognized, and their perceived roles in, for example, protection against floods and avalanches have featured in some national policies for centuries. There is little doubt, however, that the past 50 years in general and the last two decades in particular have witnessed significant changes.


Forest Management Indigenous People Forest Resource Ecosystem Management Forest Stewardship Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

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  • Alexander Mather

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