Natural Resource Values Are Enormous
New Report Shows Forests Have Far Greater Economic Value Than Commonly Thought
Some people used to say natural resources aren't very important any more, in our indoor, high-tech society. But, as shown by study after study, and war after war, natural resource values still play a crucial role. They always have and always will.
The Forest Conservation Council, a New Mexico based conservation group, has released a report outlining the economic and social benefits of preserving natural forests. The report, "The Economic Case Against National Forest Logging," written by John Talberth and Karyn Moskowitz, says national forests provide "ecosystem services" which have monetary values. These services include flood control, nutrient cycling, soil production, water purification, carbon sequestering, pollination and pest control.
Forest products such as medicinal plants, edible mushrooms, and floral greens add more value, as do forest uses such as recreation, hunting, and fishing. Scenic, aesthetic and cultural values are important quality of life factors for forest dependent communities.
Natural resource economists have estimated that such ecosystem services contribute $4.7 trillion dollars each year to the global economy. In communities near national forests, the number of jobs and amount of income generated by ecosystem services far outweighs the jobs and income associated with logging, the report says.
In Alaska, for example, jobs related to environmental quality outnumber logging jobs by 16:1. The U.S. Forest Service has access to models which permit the agency to quantify ecosystem service values. Yet in timber sale [corporate welfare] decisions, these services are ignored while the value of timber is exaggerated, the report notes.
The report calls the agency's failure to address ecosystem service values a violation of laws and regulations governing national forest management. For a copy of this report, contact John Talberth at Tel: 505-986-1163, or write to Forest Conservation Council, P.O. Box 22488, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502.
This story was distributed by the Grassroots Media Network.
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