# Forest perception and knowledge of hikers and mountain bikers in two different areas in northwestern Switzerland

Heer, C. and Rusterholz, H. P. and Baur, B.. (2003) Forest perception and knowledge of hikers and mountain bikers in two different areas in northwestern Switzerland. Environmental management, vol. 31. pp. 709-723.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A3939865

Betr. Untersuchung zu Freizeitaktivitäten im Wald von Muttenz und im Gebiet Wasserfallen Recreational activities can have major impacts on vegetation and wildlife in frequently visited forests. We assessed forest perception and knowledge (state, functions, and species diversity) among hikers and mountain bikers in a frequently visited, seminatural suburban recreation forest (Muttenz) and in a more distantly situated, naturally grown excursion forest (Wasserfallen) in northwestern Switzerland. In all, 239 hikers and 126 mountain bikers were interviewed. Mountain bikers in both forests and hikers in the more intensely used recreation forest at Muttenz assessed the state of the forest less optimistically and showed a higher awareness of the negative impact of recreational activities on the flora and fauna than hikers at Wasserfallen. Furthermore, mountain bikers seemed aware of the social conflicts caused by their activity, since they appreciated neutral or positive encounters with other forest visitors. In contrast, 57 Muttenz reported on negative experiences with other forest visitors, particularly with mountain bikers. In general, the interviewees ecological and biological forest knowledge (forest type and function, species diversity) was rather high. A large proportion was aware of the pros and cons of different forest conditions for plants and animals, and could name or recognize at least some plant and/or animal species typical for the visited forest. The forest knowledge was neither influenced by the type of recreational activity carried out nor by any aspect of forest visit behavior (frequency and duration of forest visits, means of transportation and travel distance to forest). However, the interviewees forest knowledge was influenced by their age and educational level.