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Changed availability of urban fringe forests in Sweden in 2000-2010
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography.
2013 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, ISSN 0282-7581, Vol. 28, no 4, 386-394 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although recreational pressure correlates to population size which in turn influences city growth, there is little evidence of how such processes of urban growth have affected the availability of urban fringe forests (forests with good recreational qualities located completely outside and up to 3 km from the city borders). Hence, the aim of this study was to examine consequences of urban growth on urban fringe forest availability in Sweden for the period 20002010. An overlay analysis was conducted in a GIS to identify urban fringe forests with good recreational qualities. A selection of Swedish cities with >2000 inhabitants (n = 428) was used along with a regional division to identify trends of cities in forest regions and in other regions. Results showed that the median availability of urban fringe forests had increased in all regions, both in absolute amounts and per 1000 inhabitants. A majority of the cities individually showed increased levels of urban fringe forests, despite contemporary urban growth. Availability had also decreased in about a third of the cities, most notably among those with greater population growth. Increasing populations and a future demand for recreation in proximate forests make further studies relevant, as other processes than urban growth have affected the availability of urban fringe forests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 28, no 4, 386-394 p.
Keyword [en]
GIS, recreation, urban change, urban fringe forests, urban nature
National Category
Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71587DOI: 10.1080/02827581.2012.749942ISI: 000318151700009OAI: diva2:625852
Available from: 2013-06-05 Created: 2013-06-04 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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