The functions of tropical forests can be productive (timber, fiber, fuelwood, and non-timber forest products), environmental (climate regulation, carbon sequestration and storage, reserve of biodiversity, and soil and water conservation), and social (subsistence for local populations and cultures). Forests serve a combination of functions and can generate additional revenue for local populations and national economies through ecotourism. Forests also have aesthetic, scientific, and religious values. In this chapter, we examine the principal productive and environmental services of tropical forests.
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