Calming measures for forests that merit protection

Calming measures for forests that merit protection
Calming of forested areas improves habitat quality for typical and in some cases rare species of fauna. © Rainer Sturm/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Forestry, Hunting, Spatial planning, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Other:

Affected habitats

Forest

Description

Forests are increasingly being used for recreational and leisure purposes by individuals and groups seeking an experience of nature. This can have negative impacts (e.g. noise, creation of informal pathways), especially in forested areas which are valuable from a nature conservation perspective and which form important elements of a biotope network. Areas with remnants of potential natural vegetation, old-growth forest, coppice forest and special sites (river-meadow and humid forests, gorges, steep slopes) are particularly valuable in nature conservation terms and should be kept free from negative influences as far as possible. As a way of calming these areas, various measures can be adopted, including the targeted creation of circular pathways and infrastructural services (visitor and parking facilities) in areas of woodland which are less in need of protection, as well as the production of information boards and brochures and the development of educational pathways.

Impact

Impact in particular on Small mammals, Big mammals, Birds
Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats Calming of forested areas improves habitat quality for typical and in some cases rare species of fauna.
Element of ecological network Forested areas which have undergone calming measures are important refuge areas and are therefore very important elements of the biotope network. Corresponding measures can also be carried out in peri-urban areas (targeted calming of individual forested areas).
Time of realisation for measure Immediate: Measures can start to have positive impacts very quickly. However, experience has shown that it takes some time for the measures to be accepted by all user groups.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Channellling masures should be planned on a broader spatial basis as otherwise, conflicts will simply be shifted to neighbouring areas.

Implementation

Implementation period Months: Strategies for the channelling of visitors require comprehensive planning. Stakeholders must be involved from the outset in order to increase acceptance.
Frequency Recurring: For higher effectiveness, long-term action adapted to emerging needs is required.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Medium (10'000-100'000 EUR): Due to the long planning period and the sometimes cost-intensive measures (infrastructure), several thousands of euros must be reckoned with, depending on the activities being planned.
Socio-economic impacts Low: Attractive educational pathways and circular pathways can add value to tourism and also be utilised for environmental education purposes.
Sources of financing Private sponsor, Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation Strategies for visitor channelling should be integrated into landscape and protected area planning (e.g. including Natura 2000 sites). Measures may also be eligible for funding under rural development programmes.

Further information

Evaluation The awareness of the need for visitor channelling measures has increased considerably in recent years. Relevant strategies already exist in protected areas of various categories. Strategies for targeted channelling of visitors are already in place in peri-urban woodland in particular.
Information Germany: e.g. http://www.unesco.de/3765.html Project in the Bavarian Alps (Allgäu): http://www.dbu.de/PDF-Files/A-19778.pdf

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