Wilderness provides many services that increase human quality of life. The function of Wilderness is to preserve ecosystem health and biodiversity, which complements its ability to have a positive effect on human health. For example, by preserving ecosystem health and biodiversity, Wilderness can be used as a natural outdoor laboratory and classroom.
Additionally, the preservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity may contribute to physical, emotional, and spiritual growth and personal satisfaction gained from contemplating the existence of well-functioning and biologically diverse ecosystems.
Healthy ecosystems also complement the function of preservation of natural and wild places to directly serve nonhuman biological agents through the provision of animal and plant habitat.
As a component of regional and global chemical cycles, Wilderness areas contribute to ecological services such as carbon sequestration. Such ecological services have the potential to affect living organisms over broad geographic and temporal scales.
For example, to the extend that carbon sequestration helps to regulate global climate, the carbon stored in or released from Wilderness areas may contribute to both regional and global life support in the short- and long-term run.
Values supported by these Wilderness services are introduced in the next post.