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Public Preferences Across Europe for Different Forest Stand Types as Sites for Recreation

David M. Edwards, Forest Research
Marion Jay, Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy, Albert-Ludwigs University
Frank S. Jensen, Forest & Landscape, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Beatriz Lucas, Centre Tecnologic Forestal de Catalunya (CTFC)
Mariella Marzano, Forest Research
Claire Montagné, Laboratoire d'économie forestière, UMR INRA AgroParisTech-ENGREF
Andrew Peace, Forest Research
Gerhard Weiss, Central East-European Regional Office of the European Forest Institute (EFICEEC); University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)


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A Delphi survey involving experts in forest preference research was carried out to derive scores for the recreational value of 240 forest stand types across Europe. The survey was organized around four regional panels: Great Britain, Nordic Region, Central Europe, and Iberia. In each region, 60 forest stand types were defined according to five forest management alternatives (FMAs) on a continuum of management intensity, four phases of development (establishment, young, medium, and adult), and three tree species types (conifer, broadleaved, and mixed stands of conifer and broadleaved). The resulting scores were examined using conjoint analysis to determine the relative importance of the three structural attributes (FMA, phase of development, and tree species type), and each level or component of the attributes. The findings quantify the extent to which forest visitors prefer a degree of management to unmanaged forest nature reserves across the four regions. Phase of development was shown to make the highest contribution to the recreational value of forests while the contribution of tree species type was shown to be relatively unimportant. While the results are indicative, they provide evidence to support long-term retention and low-impact silviculture in forests where recreation is a primary objective of management.

Key words

Delphi; Europe; forest management; public preference; recreation; structural attribute

Copyright © 2012 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087