Outdoor recreation in forest policy and legislation: a European comparison
Mann, Carsten; Pouta, Eija; Gentin, Sandra; Jensen, Frank Sondergaard (2010)
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Jensen, Frank Sondergaard
Urban forestry & urban greening
The benefits of outdoor recreation and the need for recreation inventories and monitoring are described in various policy and legislation documents at the European level. The objective of this paper is to analyse how these recreational aspects are reflected at the national level in core forest policy and legislation documents as well as related domains. The COST Action E33 network was used to extract information about national policies and monitoring practices for international comparison, using the Delphi method. The results provide insights into national policy setting and legislation in the field of outdoor recreation, and reveal similarities, differences, gaps and future needs. Among the main findings is a contradiction between the expressed political importance of outdoor recreation at the national level, and the absence of binding commitments for action. The majority of the countries surveyed recognise and express outdoor recreation in some form of political and/or legislative way. However, recreation monitoring or measurements are rarely mentioned in relevant policies or acts at the national, regional or local level, perhaps due to a lack of political will or resources. The analysis indicates that a consistent forest recreation monitoring system, linked to sustainable forest management, as described for example in the Helsinki process, should be better transferred into national policy and legislation. Comparable data across Europe could then provide a sound base for making decisions on outdoor recreation policy, planning and management, and furthermore provide a basis for the detection of societal changes and demands over time.
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