How integrated forest management caters to recreationists

T3.20 integrated forest management in temperate and boreal forests - balancing biodiversity and ecosystem services


Jakob Derks1 , Georg Winkel1, Rik De Vreese2, Lukas Giessen3
1 Wageningen University
2 European Forest Institute
3 TU Dresden



Integrated forest management (IFM) mainly revolves around the combination of production and conservation targets within a single area. The related forest management measures, such as the promotion of natural regeneration, selective harvesting and a continuous forest cover, do however also provide additional positive externalities, like aesthetically pleasing forest stands. The COVID-19 induced lockdown provided a prime example of this. Using long-terms visitor counts as well as hundreds of on-site interviews in the Kottenforst near Bonn, Germany, we studied forest visitors'perceptions of the forest and its management before and during the pandemic - when we identified a tremendous boom in forest visits.
One of the focal points of the study was the impact of various forest management measures that compose IFM and how they affected the attitudes of the interviewed recreationists. IFM turned out to be a key factor in the high appreciation of the forest landscape, but the results also showed that the interviewees were generally not aware of the active management behind it. The selected forest stands were broadly perceived as being natural, despite their long and ongoing management. IFM thus shows a potential to not just safeguard ecological processes and habitats in management forests, but also to cater to the ever evolving expectations of an increasingly urban populace.