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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Balancing landscape-level forest management between recreation and wood production

Eggers, Jeannette; Lindhagen, Anders; Lind, Torgny; Lamas, Tomas; Ohman, Karin


Although many forested landscapes are used for both wood production and outdoor recreation, intensive forest management can negatively impact the recreational value of forests, including in Sweden, a country with rich forest resources and a strong forest industry. In Sweden, urbanization has increased the importance of, and demand for, urban and peri-urban recreational green areas such as forests. It is the responsibility of the local government - i.e., the municipalities - to provide a good living environment for its inhabitants, including recreational areas. However, most of the forest areas in Sweden are owned by private individuals and companies, which have a large degree of freedom in their forest management decisions. Municipalities can make formal agreements with forest owners to protect forests with high recreational values, but this requires financial resources, which are often scarce. Thus, tools are needed to identify the forest areas that should be prioritized for the use of forest management strategies that maintain or increase the recreational value of forests. In this study, we elaborate an approach that balances economic and recreational forest values within a forest decision support system (DSS) and test the approach for a case study area in southern Sweden. The recreation model included in the forest DSS links locational aspects, such as population density and proximity to water, with forest structure aspects, which are simulated over time under different management strategies. Our results suggest that the model could be useful for more efficient planning of the recreational potential of forests at the landscape level. The results from the case study indicate that substantial increases in the recreational value of a forest landscape can be achieved with relatively small overall economic losses, for example, by extending rotation periods in forests close to densely populated areas.


Decision support system; Forest management; Linear optimization; Recreation index

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2018, Volume: 33, pages: 1-11