Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry

Other reports in this collection 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 countries worldwide.

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