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Volume 73, issue 4
Geogr. Helv., 73, 335-345, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-73-335-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: The trouble with forest: definitions, boundaries and values

Geogr. Helv., 73, 335-345, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-73-335-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 19 Nov 2018

Standard article | 19 Nov 2018

What forest is in the light of people's perceptions and values: socio-cultural forest monitoring in Switzerland

Jacqueline Frick1, Nicole Bauer2, Eike von Lindern3, and Marcel Hunziker2 Jacqueline Frick et al.
  • 1Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Wädenswil, 8820, Switzerland
  • 2Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, 8903, Switzerland
  • 3Dialog N – Research and Communication for People, Environment and Nature, Uster, 8610, Switzerland

Abstract. Forest is an important element of Swiss landscape, with about 30% of the country covered by it, forming a finely structured patchwork together with water bodies, agricultural land and settlements. It is highly valued by residents as part of their everyday living and recreational environment. The aim of this paper is to provide knowledge about how residents perceive and value forests and what their dominant preferences are. The data were collected through the Socio-cultural Forest Monitoring (WaMos). In this survey, 3022 persons responded by telephone interview or online survey. Respondents were well informed about forest issues, especially about recreation, animals and protection from natural hazards. Nevertheless, functions such as wood production, air quality and biodiversity were rated as even more important than recreational functions. Mixed forests and multisensory experiences were preferred, whereas wilderness was only moderately approved of. Respondents did not much appreciate sports and fun infrastructure, but valued infrastructure for contemplative and social activities and for education about forest issues.

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This paper is about residents’ perceptions, evaluations, and preferences regarding forests, 3022 residents completed the Swiss Socio-cultural Forest Monitoring (WaMos). Respondents were well informed about forest issues. Forest functions such as wood production, air quality, and biodiversity were rated as more important than recreation. Mixed forests and multi-sensory experiences were preferred; wilderness was only moderately approved of.
This paper is about residents’ perceptions, evaluations, and preferences regarding forests,...
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