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Outdoor recreation in Swedish forests : implications for society and forestry

Hörnsten, Lisa


Swedes are often said to have a strong relationship with nature, and nature for Swedes can be regarded as being represented by forests. Like most relationships, also the relationship with nature is likely to transform over time. This thesis describes changes in the relationship with the forest of adult Swedes during a 20-year period. It also describes how the relationship, described as visiting frequencies, is affected by physical planning, and what is considered to be the ideal situation among the adult public regarding the distance between their residence and the closest forest. The thesis also presents ideas on how woodland in urban areas can be planned to be more attractive than at present, providing a diversity of recreation opportunities, by developing a planning concept adopted for Swedish outdoor recreation. For the planning concept, theories were tested on a case area in the vicinity of Stockholm. All other data in this thesis were collected as part of a larger nationwide survey studying forest recreation among the adult population using mailed questionnaires. In the thesis it is concluded that the relationship with the forest is still close, but public use is changing from harvesting towards the purely recreational. This can be observed in results showing small changes between 1977 and 1997 in the pattern of forest recreation, and for the preferences of different forest environments. Observed differences during the same 20-year period, include a large drop in the inclination to pick wild berries, and an increased popularity for virgin forest as a recreational environment but still, for most people, an unpopular environment to visit. To provide opportunities for frequent forest visits, it should be possible to get to the forest on foot. This implies that residential areas should be planned to have the closest forest preferably within one kilometre, and definitely not exceeding two kilometres. However, according to the respondents' own preferences, the forest should be located within one kilometre. For planning for recreation in urban forests, three theories, all focusing on experiences but originating from different research fields, have been tested and found useful. For the plans, other data input than traditional forest inventories are needed, and also other land use classes than woodland should be inclu


Forest recreation; postal inquiry; distance; management; urban planning; forest planning; recreational planning

Publicerad i

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Silvestria
2000, nummer: 169
ISBN: 91-576-6053-0
Utgivare: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

      SLU författare

    • Hörnsten, Lisa

      • Institutionen för skogshushållning, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

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