Forest use for health purposes

Full title: Forest use for health purposes - Monitoring and analysis of current developments for the strategic positioning of forest stakeholders

Project members: Anika Gaggermeier and Nancy Koller

Cooperation partner: Bayerische Landesanstalt für Wald- und Forstwirtschaft (Bavarian State Institute for Forestry)

Duration: 09/2019 - 31/2021

Funding: Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry

Project description

Nature and the forest are increasingly becoming the focus of the wellness and health trend in Western industrial countries. As a result, nature and forests are charged with new patterns of meaning. It is to be expected that in addition to classic forest visitors ("recreation seekers", "sports enthusiasts"), other user groups will increasingly formulate demands on the forests. Health-oriented courses and events are already meeting with great demand. It is to be expected that in the future there will be more offers that use the forest for health purposes (e.g. forest bathing or therapy hours in the forest). In addition, there is an increasing desire by health resorts and clinics in Bavaria to identify certified spa and healing forests in order to use them for medical and marketing purposes, like the example of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The purpose of the research project is to analyse the current trend and to provide forest stakeholders with instruments for the "use" of this topic. With the help of the topic complex forest and health as well as its public perception exists for the participants of the forestry industry the unique chance to clarify their interests in the public communication and to profit from the positive charge of the topic.

On the basis of an intensive analysis, guidelines will be drawn up for forest stakeholders (Bavarian Forest Administration (BaySF), private forest owners, forest owning communities, forest owner associations, etc.). The focus is on recommendations for action for successful cooperation with the health sector and tools for public relations work. This enables a strategic positioning of forest stakeholders in the field of forests and health and facilitates the legally required balance between the interests of the general public and forest owners.