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Beliefs about urban fringe forests among urban residents in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2012 (English)In: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, ISSN 1618-8667, E-ISSN 1610-8167, Vol. 11, no 3, 321-328 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to examine predictors of beliefs about urban fringe forests among urban residents in Sweden (n = 586). Based on a cognitive hierarchical model, the study investigated how socio-demographic variables, as well as different values and beliefs, were related to the more specific beliefs urban residents have about urban fringe forests. Results demonstrated that the urban fringe forest was perceived to be essential for personal wellbeing, but preservation and accessibility to the forest were also important. Certain differences between socio-demographic groups were identified; for example, the importance of urban fringe forests for personal wellbeing was emphasized more by women, older people and those with a university degree. However, the importance of socio-demographic variables was modest compared with the influence of people's values and beliefs. More specifically, results showed that urban residents' basic values and ecological worldview, as well as forest values and beliefs (i.e., concerning forest qualities and forest requirements), were important in explaining their beliefs about urban fringe forests. Overall, the study revealed that urban residents are characterized by a heterogeneous set of beliefs concerning urban fringe forests. Recognizing these multiple beliefs in urban fringe forest development processes may help mitigate future conflicts between forest visitors, urban planners, forest owners and forest managers, thus enhancing our way toward good urban living environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 11, no 3, 321-328 p.
Keyword [en]
basic values, environmental beliefs, forest beliefs, urban fringe forest beliefs
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60662DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2012.02.004ISI: 000308902100010OAI: diva2:562813
Available from: 2012-10-26 Created: 2012-10-22 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Out of the wild: studies on the forest as a recreational resource for urban residents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Out of the wild: studies on the forest as a recreational resource for urban residents
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores and analyzes the demand for and supply of forests in and near urban areas from a social perspective. Specific focus is directed towards recreational qualities of forests located just outside urban borders, that is, urban fringe forests. To this end, the thesis is based on four empirical research papers. Papers I and II explore the demand component, while Paper III focuses on the supply component. Finally, Paper IV integrates issues of both demand and supply. In Paper I, a survey directed to the general public in urban areas is used to address differences between public attitudes to the forest in general and to the urban fringe forest more specifically. Paper II builds upon interviews with municipal planners with responsibility for green space issues in nine Swedish cities. In Paper III, spatial forest data is analyzed in a GIS to examine how urbanization and population developments influence the supply of urban fringe forests over time. Spatial analysis is further used in Paper IV to quantify forest attractiveness and accessibility in a single measure of urban fringe forest demand and supply.

In Paper I it is shown that urban residents associate the urban fringe forest with a variety of design characteristics, as people’s opinions do not solely concern social qualities but also ecological and functional qualities. It is concluded that the overall influence of socioeconomic and demographic attributes is modest in comparison to the basic values and beliefs people hold about life, the environment, and the forest in general. In Paper II it is demonstrated that it is imperative for municipalities to own forest, since this allows them to secure sufficient provisions of recreational forests for future residents and from urban land developments. However, as private citizens do generally not take part of local planning and management decision-making there is an obvious risk for decisions biased towards the interests of social organizations, with specific activity and structural demands that do not necessarily reflect the interests of the general public. From Paper III it is evident that urbanization and population developments do not necessarily lead to a reduced supply of urban fringe forests over time; forest management practices are equally important to consider with regards to people’s opportunities to visit attractive forests for recreation. Finally, in Paper IV it is shown that more attractive forests are generally less accessible to urban residents, regardless of mode of transportation, and that the accessibility to urban fringe forests is generally lower in more deprived neighborhoods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 74 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2014:1
forest values and beliefs, GIS, public participation, recreation, social forest qualities, spatial interaction, urban forest, urban fringe forest, urban planning, urbanization
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-95907 (URN)978-91-7601-158-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-05, Samhällsvetarhuset, S205, Umeå, 10:15 (English)

The research for Paper I of this thesis was conducted in collaboration with Future Forests, a multidisciplinary research program, and its sponsors: the Strategic Foundation for Environmental Research (Mistra), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umeå University, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (Skogforsk), and the Forestry Industry in Sweden. The research for Papers II-IV was made possible with financial support from the Centre for Environmental Research in Umeå (CMF). Additional financial support was received from the Gösta Skoglund foundation, the Kempe foundation, and the Carl-Fredric von Horn foundation.

Available from: 2014-11-14 Created: 2014-11-06 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, LouiseNordlund, AnnikaOlsson, OlofWestin, Kerstin
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