The value of biodiversity is classified
into direct and indirect values as shown
in the below diagram.
The direct value include food resources
like grains, vegetables, fruits which
are obtained from plant resources and
meat, fish, egg, milk and milk products
from animal resources. These also
include other values like medicine,
fuel, timber, fiber, wool, wax, resin,
rubber, silk and decorative items.
The direct values are of two types (i)
Consumptive use value and (ii)
Productive use value.
Consumptive use value:
These are the direct use values where
the biodiversity products can be
harvested and consumed directly.
Example: Food, fuel and drugs. These
goods are consumed locally and do no
figure in national and international
(i) Plants: The most fundamental value of biological
resources particularly plants is
providing food. Basically three crops
i.e. wheat, maize and rice constitute
more than two third of the food
requirement all over the world.
(ii) Fish: Through the development of aquaculture,
techniques, fish and fish products have
become the largest source of protein in
Fuel: Since ages forests have provided
wood which is used as a fuel. Moreover
fossil fuels like coal, petroleum,
natural gas are also product of
biodiversity which are directly consumed
Drugs and medicines: The traditional
medical practice like ayurveda utilizes
plants or their extracts directly. In
allopathy, the pharmaceutical industry
is much more dependent on natural
products. Many drugs are derived from
Quinine: The famous anti malaria drug is
obtained from cinchona tree.
Penicillin: A famous antibiotic is
derived from pencillium, a fungus.
Tetracycline: It is obtained from
Recently vinblastin and vincristine, two
anti cancer drugs have been obtained
from catharanthus plant which has anti
Productive use values:
These are the direct use values where
the product is commercially sold in
national and international market. Many
industries are dependent upon these
values. Example- Textile, leather, silk,
paper and pulp industry etc. Although
there is an international ban on trade
of products from endangered species like
tusks of elephants, wool from sheep, fur
of many animals etc. These are traded in
market and fetch a booming business.
Biodiversity provides indirect benefits
to human beings which support the
existence of biological life and other
benefits which are difficult to
quantify. These include social and
cultural values, ethical values,
aesthetic values, option values and
environment service values.
Social and cultural value:
Many plants and animals are considered
holy and sacred in India and are
worshipped like Tulsi, peepal, cow,
snake etc. In Indian society great
cultural value is given to forest and as
such tiger, peacock and lotus are named
as the national animal, bird and flower
Ethical: These values are related to
conservation of biodiversity where
ethical issue of ‘all life forms must be
preserved’ is laid down. There is an
existence value which is attached to
each species because biodiversity is
valuable for the survival of human race.
Moreover all species have a moral right
to exist independent of our need for
There is a great aesthetic value which
is attached to biodiversity. Natural
landscapes at undisturbed places are a
delight to watch and also provide
opportunities for recreational
activities like bird watching,
photography etc. It promotes eco-tourism
which further generates revenue by
designing of zoological, botanical
gardens, national parks, wild life
These values include the unexplored or
unknown potentials of biodiversity.
Environment service values: The most
important benefit of biodiversity is
maintenance of environment services
Carbon dioxide fixation through
Maintaining of essential nutrients by
carbon (C), oxygen (O), Nitrogen (N),
Sulphur (S), Phosphorus (P) cycles.
Maintaining water cycle and recharging
of ground water.
Soil formation and protection from
Regulating climate by recycling moisture
into the atmosphere.
Detoxification and decomposition of