BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE Agriscience 381 Wildlife and Recreation Management #8981-A TEKS: (c)(2)(A)
Introduction Wildlife includes all undomesticated living plant and animal species. Through proper wildlife management, humans are also preserving the environment.
The majority of land in the U. S. is under private ownership. Therefore, it appears evident that wildlife refuges alone cannot be responsible for all of the wildlife management activities. Every landowner should have a goal of achieving sound, responsible wildlife management.
There are four areas where wild plant and animal species benefit human existence: • economic, • medical and scientific, • aesthetic and recreational, and • ecological.
Once people understand the importance of wildlife, it will no longer be necessary to convince them of the need for wildlife management.
Economic Benefits Early economic benefits of wildlife focused on plants and animals as a source of food and clothing. The current economic benefit is one of outdoor recreational activities.
The two major sources of economic revenues in the wildlife industry are hunting and fishing. Photo Steve Hillebrand by courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Individuals spend money on licenses, leases, supplies, and guide services. Photo courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Americans spend 18 billion dollars simply to watch wildlife. Photo by Leslie Quinn courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park System, DOI.
Bird watching alone makes up $5.2 billion of that amount. Photo by Jim Frates courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park System, DOI.
State and federal agencies require the use of trained individuals to carry out wildlife-related activities. People trained in this area can also serve as independent consultants. They assist private landowners in reaching their management goals.
Other wildlife that have economic importance include: • fur-bearing animals, • plants, • insects, and • birds.
Medical and Scientific Benefits Medically, plants or their extract are a source of medicine for 80 percent of the world’s population. In less-developed tropical countries alone, wild plants have an estimated value of 100 billion dollars annually.
These plants make up about 40 percent of all medicines, drugs, and pharmaceuticals.
Currently, scientists have studied about 5,000 of the 250,000 known plant species. Photo by Jim Peaco courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park System, DOI.
The main value of plants is that they • produce oxygen; • regulate the water supply; and • use solar energy to make chemical energy.
It must be understood that the diversity of life includes: • bacteria, • fungi, and • insects. Photo by Ed Loth courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These three groups dominate and aid in the functioning of the natural ecosystem.
Aesthetic and Recreational Benefits The aesthetic value of wildlife is often the motivation for recreational activities. Photo by J. Schmidt courtesy of Yellowstone National Park, National Park System, DOI.
Another name for wildlife tourism is ecotourism. Ecotourism is a potential source of revenue for many Third World countries.
A disadvantage to the growing industry of ecotourism is the impact the people have on the local ecosystems. Heavy human activity will damage an ecosystem. Photo by Steve Hillebrand courtesy of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ecological Benefits Ecology is the relationship of all living things with their environment. A biotic community is the collection of all plants and animals in the same environment. The use of one resource in an ecosystem will have an effect on all of the other resources.
Let’s discuss a scenario about the relationship between organisms in an ecosystem. Coyotes attack a lamb. In response, the rancher kills the coyotes. How would this affect the ecosystem?
Killing the coyotes would allow rabbits, mice, and field rats to multiply. The increase in population of those species would affect the food supplies for other animals.
The benefits of wildlife overlap and a wildlife manager must look at the big picture when making and implementing decisions regarding wildlife.
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