184.108.40.206.3. Aesthetic, spiritual, and recreational values
People throughout the world have a special relationship with their landscape;
many indigenous communities sustain themselves physically and spiritually on
forestlands. Depending on specific societal attitudes and the type of forest
concerned, forests may be regarded as a desirable amenity, "unnatural," or undesirable.
These perceptions must be considered when planning ARD activities.
Stewardship describes the responsibility of humans who have been entrusted
with the management of all creation to take care of it. In India and several
other countries, for example, sacred groves have long been identified for preservation-presumably
to meet the need of noncommercial goods and services to human society. By and
large, traditional sanctity has been effective to protect many such groves,
notwithstanding pressures from population growth, urbanization, and industrialization.
The sacred groves in their origin provide a code of conduct and associated restrictions
or regulations through legends that prescribe the relationship of the community
with their surroundings.
The aesthetic values of forests are somewhat more utilitarian when they are
captured through recreational activity. Forests provide a wide range of recreational
opportunities, including hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and hunting. In
the United States alone, these activities account for more than 4 billion participation
days annually (Cordell et al., 1997). Forest-based recreation and ecotourism
have become significant sources of economic development in developed and developing