WML – WaMos meets NFI

The long-term goal of the project is to link the NFI and WaMos regarding forest recreation and to bridge physical and social aspects. The aim is to develop a model for forest recreation that consists of natural scientific aspects of the forest as well as social aspects.

With the increasing urbanisation, recreation in urban forests is becoming more and more important. Therefore, forest recreation is being investigated with various methods and monitoring instruments. The socio-cultural forest monitoring WaMos examines the relationship of the Swiss population to the forest, does not, however, include physical data about the forest. The National Forest Inventory (NFI) records the current state and the changes of the Swiss forest. However, the NFI doesn't have any data of its own on forest recreation and preferences of forest visitors concerning forest structures.

Project phases

The project is structured into 5 modules:

Module 1: Feasibility study WML – "WaMos meets LFI" (Pilot project 2014-2015)

In this pilot project, we tested the approach of conducting a forest visitor survey at NFI-sample plots and linking questionnaire data to NFI-data. 

Module 2: Online-Survey (2014-2016)

In this approach, we integrated photos from NFI-sample plots into an online survey. In the analysis, we linked questionnaire data to forest data derived from the photos.

Module 3: Continuation method development WML (2017)

In order to extend the approach of a forest visitor survey at NFI-sample plots to the whole of Switzerland, we needed to solve a few more methodological questions in this module first.

Module 4: Forest visitor survey at NFI-sample plots in the whole of Switzerland (2017-2018)

The forest visitor survey was conducted at 50 plots in the whole of Switzerland, once during the winter- and once during the summer season. Physical forest characteristics (NFI-data) were collected from the same plots and linked to questionnaire answers in a multi-level model. The aim of this module was specifically to answer the following questions:      

  • Can the developed method be applied to the whole of Switzerland?
  • Which forest characteristics play an important role for forest recreation?
  • Which data is needed to predict the recreational value of forests?
  • Are there differences between seasons, especially between the summer- and winter season?


Module 5: Evaluation of the approaches used (2018-2019)

The evaluation provided first answers to the question of how monitoring of the social function of forests can be integrated into the NFI.