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PRO SILVA recognises the increasing importance of the forest for physical and mental health, especially in densely populated countries in Europe.

4. Cultural Aspects

Elements

Essential elements of the recreational function of forests are:

  • Suitability of forests for quiet, “eco-friendly” forms of physical and mental recreation
  • Suitability of forests as part of the traditional emotional attachment of people to forests and nature (forest of secrets, myths, fairy tales)
  • Suitability of forests as a custodian of cultural traditions (forest as a theme in painting, poetry, music).
Methods

PRO SILVA recommends the following methods for development of forests for their recreational function:

  • Giving priority to reflective (contemplative) forms of recreation, by providing appropriate trails and other facilities
  • In so far as needed, the concentration of recreational facilities in specific zones
  • Establishment of quiet areas of the forest, for experiences of the senses (a place for consciousness, for thinking, for dreaming, for becoming absorbed by nature)
  • Promotion of attractive trees, groves and other aesthetic features (colours, flowers, fruits, shrubs, herbs etc.)
  • Maintenance and creation of attractive forests by varied forest structures
  • Establishment of non-intervention areas where nature is left to follow its course
  • Maintenance of forest meadows, valleys, rocky outcrops, water features, views, etc.

PRO SILVA is convinced that the recreational function generally stems automatically from the type of forest management which is proposed above. Only in exceptional circumstances will extra measures be needed.

Paying attention to the recreational function in forest management may assist in providing a counterweight to the living conditions of modem man, who is living in an increasingly urban and technical society.

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