|Ecotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)|
|2. SERVICES PROVIDED BY FORESTS|
Dominant values of forests have come to be equated with economic resources in an extractive industry that has contributed to forest loss regionally. As part of this, the social, cultural and ecological components of services of forests have been largely unrecognized or ignored.
The search for economic development in the region is an important one, but pathways towards development have environmental and social costs in terms of the destruction of services of forests. In this context, one person or groups economic development can be another persons or groups loss of culture, religion or beliefs. Attempts at drawing some people into the economic mainstream may result in the marginalization of others.
What is needed is a mechanism whereby the diversity of services that forests provide can be protected, while forests can still provide economic benefit to local and indigenous people, countries and others within the region. Such an approach would need to recognize the diversity of services from forests, but would also need to recognize the sociocultural basis for these services, especially as they relate to indigenous and local peoples rights. It would need to broaden out the predominant concept of forests that emphasizes economic considerations to include broader functions as well as provide a means to replace, at least partially, the economic benefits that have to be foregone to maintain the broad range of services of forests. It would also need to ensure that economic and social development occurs within the region by emphasizing the rights of local people. Ecotourism can be one such mechanism.