Edited by David Pearce, Corin Pearce and Charles Palmer
Chapter 15: Using an income accounting framework to value non-timber forest products
Caroline Sullivan 1 INTRODUCTION Today, almost 4 per cent of the earth’s land area is managed explicitly to conserve species and ecosystems (WCED, 1987), so the need for conservation is already accepted. The problem we are faced with now is one of determining how it can be achieved, both in the best interests of individual nations and in the interests of the world as a whole. Clearly, the objective of any rational government is to achieve economic growth so that the needs of the population are met, and the standards of living (howsoever measured) are improved. In order to achieve this in a sustainable way, changes will be needed in the way countries operate both internally and externally. Tropical forests are important to the global ecosystem for a number of reasons. Not only do they provide a production function in the form of a wealth of resources, but they also fulﬁl important regulatory functions such as carbon sequestration and hydrological cycling. Because of the high concentration of ﬂora and fauna in tropical moist forests, these areas function as a major carbon sink, along with the oceans and the atmosphere itself. Estimates of the size of this total global biomass pool are in the range of 550–830 billion tonnes of carbon (Bouwman, 1990), and tropical deforestation is one aspect of human action which is disturbing the functioning of this carbon sink, and contributing to the rise in atmospheric CO2. Since forests contain possibly as much as 85 per cent...
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