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Forest and society

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Society uses Swiss forests in various ways. In order to meet the manifold demands, forest development must be planned and directed. We develop instruments for sustainable forest use.


Forests protect people and infrastructure from natural hazards. Wood is a renewable resource that is used both as a building material and for energy production. Forests also provide the opportunity and space for outdoor recreation and leisure activities.

These diverse functions of forests have to be considered in forest management, forest planning and in the design of legal and other frameworks. Forest management and tools for the utilization of forests need to be continuously improved. One central aspect of the research at the WSL Research Unit Economics and Social Science is therefore to examine how these improvements in forest use can mesh with the principles of sustainability.


Research themes


Research at WSL explores societal and economic aspects of forests and forest use. Our focus includes the following themes:

The second WaMos socio-cultural forest monitoring survey (WaMos 2) examines the Swiss population’s attitudes and behaviour in relation to the forest. The survey was carried out in late 2010 and involved 3022 informants. The survey examines people’s relationship with the forest as recreational space, wood producer, protection against natural hazards and in its ecological function.