Importance of Vermont’s Forests

Vermont's forests are valuable ecologically, economically and socially. Covering 78% of the state, forests provide jobs, stability to the landscape, wildlife habitats, biological diversity, clean water, scenic vistas and diverse recreational opportunities. While changes are always occurring to the forests, these are values that Vermonters want to maintain. Learn more about Vermont's forest ecosystems.

Ecosystem Services

Benefits people obtain from forest ecosystems help sustain and fulfill human life. Our clean air and water are in large part due to the filtering effects of trees above and below ground. Forests provide food, fresh water, fuel and fiber. They support functions such as maintaining soil fertility, cycling of nutrients (carbon sequestration and air pollution filtering), and provide habitat for plant and animal life. Forests reduce the effects from climate (drought), weather (flooding, strong winds), and insect and disease problems (natural controls). And forests represent a part of our lives that we value for education, aesthetics, recreation, tourism, and cultural heritage. Some of these benefits could be viewed as commodities that deserve compensation, such as aesthetics, undeveloped open space, watershed protection and water purification, and carbon sequestration and storage.

The services provided by Vermont's forests can be categorized into four groups:

Provisioning Services, or the provision of food, fresh water, fuel, fiber, and other goods;

Regulating Services, such as climate, water, and disease regulation as well as pollination;

Supporting Services, such as soil formation and nutrient cycling; and

Cultural Services, such as educational, aesthetic, and cultural heritage values as well as recreation and tourism.


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