Forest and People

The forest is very important to the Swiss population and the importance of the forest as a recreational area is increasing. For the management of recreational forests, information on the attitude of the population towards the forest and regular monitoring are indispensable.

The relationship of the population to the forest is periodically assessed in a nationally representative survey, the Swiss Sociocultural Forest Monitoring WaMos. WaMos examines the attitude of the population to all forest-related topics, i.e., to wood production, to ecology and nature conservation in the forest, to natural hazard protection and to recreation. WaMos1 was carried out in 1997, WaMos2 in 2010 and WaMos3 in 2020.

In order to fully understand recreational use of the forest, knowledge is also needed about the physical forest in which recreation takes place. Physical forest characteristics are assessed by the Swiss National Forest Inventory LFI. In the projects WML ("WaMos meets LFI") and "Social and cultural values of urban forests and their characteristics", an attempt was made for the first time to build a bridge between these two monitoring tools by linking questionnaire data with forest characteristics.

In order to establish a systematic, long-term monitoring of forest recreation, the module "Forest and Society" was created within the LFI in 2021. This module focuses on visitor frequencies in forests close to settlements, but also on forest visitors themselves with their behaviour, activities, preferences and motives. Where possible, social data, e.g., from WaMos, are linked with plot-related forest data from the LFI.