Responsible forest management

Forests are essential to life on Earth, providing multiple goods and services which benefit people in many ways: economically, materially, health-wise, emotionally and socially. These forest ecosystem benefits are also known as forest ecosystem services include many elements. Some of them might be more obvious than others.

We can group the benefits human derive from forests into 4 main categories: provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services, and supporting services.

Forest in Slovenia
Vasja Marinč

Provisioning services


Fresh water

Healthy forests are critical to providing clean water. Forests can positively impact the quantity, quality and filtration costs associated with a city's water. 


Fresh air

Trees release oxygen as a result of photosynthesis. Furthermore, trees cool the air through evapotranspiration and improve air quality by trapping dust, ash, pollen and smoke on their leaves.



Wood has been used for thousands of years as a construction material for housing, for creation of furniture and paper, and increasingly for textiles.

Fuel wood

Fuel wood

Most common use of fuel wood today is for cooking and heating. It may be used indoors in a furnace, stove, or fireplace, or outdoors in campfire, or bonfire.



Mushrooms are being increasingly recognised not only for their ecological significance but also for their nutritional value. All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fiber.

Truffles 2


Black, white, or something in between, truffles are usually found in close association with tree roots and always underground. Some of the truffle species are highly prized as food.



Honey is considered a superfood packed with all substances vital for sustaining life. It is produced by bees from the sugary secretions of plants from the forests.



Bushmeat is an important food resource for people, particularly in rural areas. Furthermore, hunting is a vital part of responsible forest management as it protects the forests.



Fodder is a food for cattle, horses, sheep and other domesticated animals. Forests represent are a vital community resource for fodder and leaf litter. 



Cork is layer of bark that is harvested for commercial use primarily from the cork oak (Quercus suber). It has impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire retardant properties. 



Rubber is harvested mainly in the form of the latex from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) or others. It is collected using a process called "tapping".



Resin is widely used in varnishes, adhesives and food-glazing agents, and it can be used for perfumes, cosmetics, and flavouring.

non-timber products


Blackberry, black cherry, serviceberry, currant, elderberry, chokeberry, raspberry, blueberry, staghorn sumac, strawberry... the list goes on and so do the health benefits of these products.



Hickory nuts, butternuts, beachnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, acorns, hazelnuts, pine nuts are just some of the edible nuts that come from forests.

Medicinal plants

Medicinal plants

70 to 95% of people in many developing countries rely largely on traditional medicine – mostly herbal remedies – for primary healthcare. 

Regulating services

Climate regulation

Climate regulation

Forests regulate climate at local, regional and continental scales, by producing atmospheric moisture and rainfall, and controlling temperature.

Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration

Forest absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, and bind it into biomass, thus reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.


Erosion regulation

Leaf canopies help reduce erosion caused by falling rain by providing surface area where rain water lands and evaporates. Roots take up water and help promote infiltration.


Natural hazards regulation

Forests can retain excess rainwater, prevent extreme run-offs, reduce the damage from flooding, or protect urban areas as wind shield.

Forest river

Water purification

Water gets cleaner because the soil filters out substances such as mercury, pesticides and other pollutants. Clean water depends on healthy soils which depend on healthy forests.


Air pollution control

Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Cultural services

Walking in forest Italy


Forest activities may include biking, hiking, trekking, walking, meditating, tree hugging, tree climbing, camping, zip-lining, skiing, sledging, rafting, etc.

Tourism forest


Visiting national parks and other protected forest areas, birdwatching or other forms of eco-tourism help us develop a profound appreciation for nature, which in turn fuels better conservation.

Forest in Slovenia 2

Aesthetic values

Trees add beauty to their surroundings by adding colour to an area, softening harsh lines of buildings, screening unsightly views and contributing to the value of nearby properties.

Meditating in forest

Spiritual heritage

Forest have an intrinsic sacredness, associated sacredness (forests as the place of significant spiritual history or culture), and may be a place to experience transcendence.

Education in forest


Forest pedagogy is environmental education on forest, relations and processes taking place in forests, forest management and forest benefits to humans.


Inspirational values

Consider how many songs, fairy tales, poems, paintings, films, cartoons, and various other forms of art have been inspired by the intangible inspirational values of our forests.

Supporting services

Primary production

Primary production

Primary productivity is the process resulting from photosynthetic activity of the plants and determines biomass accumulation in forests.

Forest habitat

Provision of habitats

Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Additionally, millions of people live in forests and depend on the forest products for their livelihoods.

Soil forest Italy

Soil formation

The litter (leaves, needles, twigs etc) from the trees help in soil formation. The trees ‘feed’ from the nutrients in the soil, but in turn the soil is ‘fed’ from nutrients.

Dead wood

Nutrients cycling

Nutrient cycles aid in the functioning of ecosystems and restore ecological balance. Nutrients are taken up by trees and released back into the environment following their death. 

Water transpiration

Water cycling

Trees pull water from the ground and release it into the atmosphere as vapour through pores in their leaves, driving temperatures and rainfall across the globe.