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IMPORTANCE OF

NATURAL
ENVIRONMENTS FOR
AESTHETIC VALUES:
Natural environments are important places for inspiration and
stimulating creativity.
RECREATION AND
ADVENTURE VALUES:
Natural environments are important places for people to relax,
exercise and to pursue physical and mental challenges away from
the pressures of the human settlements. They are also places for
solitude and non-destructive adventures (such as whitewater
rafting, canoeing or trekking).
EDUCATIONAL VALUES:
Natural environments are places where learning happens. People
want and need to learn about nature to understand the world and
how it works from scientific, historical, geographic and cultural
perspectives.
This can happen through schools and other educational groups
visiting an area, but learning can also occur through people visiting
an area either directly (for example as tourists) or indirectly (for
example through watching documentaries). The popularity of
nature programs on television and of (eco)tourism in world heritage
areas and national parks indicates the high educational value of
natural environments.

Us!
MAINTAINING BIODIVERSITY
Maintaining the stability of the environment (including biodiversity):
It is important to preserve natural environments to ensure that
interrelationships between species (such as food webs) and
biodiversity are preserved. It is also important to maintain natural
environments because they are essential components in the water
cycle and the carbon cycle.
For example, forested slopes are important in water catchment
areas, and vegetation cover generally prevents soil erosion. Plants
also consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen which is
important for animals, including humans.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
VALUES
Social values: Indigenous people around the world rely on the
natural environment for their spiritual, mental and physical well-
being.
ECONOMIC VALUES:
Natural environments have economic values as resources which
provide for human needs. They are exploited for their timber,
plants and animals, rocks and minerals, and for their
pharmaceutical and other medicinal potentialities (e.g. eucalyptus
oil, tea tree oil and kelp). They are also the source for clean water
for urban areas (i.e. as water catchments), for electricity generation
(hydro or tidal), and for tourism (including ecotourism).
POSSIBLE FUTURE FOOD
SOURCES:
Natural environments are the original source of all human foods. As
some foods become scarce the environment is further explored for
alternatives (e.g. deep sea fishing has developed as other fish
supplies have become exhausted).
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
VALUES
We still do not know everything about every species. Indeed new
species, and interrelationships between species, are being
discovered all the time. The gene pool of natural environments is
an important resource in addressing diseases (both plant and
animal).
We need natural environments for comparison with similar but
disturbed environments to monitor the extent of the impact of the
disturbances (e.g. pollution in streams, soil erosion, species
migration or extinction, salinity).
Scientific research in natural environments can also have
economic value through the discovery of new food sources or
pharmaceuticals in natural environments.
Medical reasons also; Will the environment be a potential cure for
INTRINSIC VALUES:
Natural environments have a right to exist without having to be
seen as a resource for humans.
Many people are happy to know that wilderness areas and other
natural environments exist without ever visiting them because they
recognize their importance for the plants and animals that are part
of those natural environments.
We hold intrinsic value to particular environments or places we
visit!