|Ecotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)|
|2. SERVICES PROVIDED BY FORESTS|
The Asia-Pacific region is marked by a wide range of geographic and biological diversity. It includes the worlds highest mountain systems, the second largest rainforest complex, more than half the worlds coral reefs, and a diversity of island systems. Additionally, the region includes segments of three biogeographic divisions. There is consequently a high level of species diversity and endemism (Braatz 1992). However, this diversity and endemism is coming under increasing threat. According to Braatz (1992:1), unless immediate, decisive steps are taken to counter the effects of deforestation and other forms of natural resource destruction in the Asia-Pacific region, much of Asias biodiversity will be irreversibly lost within this generation.
Biodiversity loss is occurring through a combination of factors such as poverty, population increases and models of economic development that incorporate nature as a resource for exploitation. In this region, conservationists face the twin challenges of development and under-development.... The regions countries are grappling with difficult choices governed by geopolitical, economic and demographic forces (IUCN Bulletin 1993:12).
This section provides an overview of the various services of forests available within the Asia-Pacific region. Its aim is to introduce this variety within the context of services of forests being contested. That is, services of forests, their use and their conservation, may mean different things to different groups across the region. An example of this is the question of protection from what and for what? For instance, when conflicts arise between uses, such as ecotourism and indigenous use, which should take priority?
Services provided by forests cover a wide range of ecological, political, economic, social and cultural considerations and processes. This diversity means that there are no easy management solutions, and management is not a technical, mechanical process but one that must necessarily incorporate a variety of competing interest groups and views.