Mapping landscape potential for outdoor recreation
Outdoor recreation outside urban areas has been steadily growing over the last decades. This development opened up new opportunities, but also posed pressing challenges. Effective landscape management to use new opportunities while addressing upcoming challenges requires a better understanding of what makes landscapes attractive for outdoor recreationists. IVM researchers Franziska Komossa, Emma van der Zanden and Nynke Schulp quantify landscapes' outdoor recreation potential using different recreation user groups in the European Union.
12/05/2017 | 12:22 PM
Knowledge about the preferences of different recreation user groups and their potential spatial distribution will enable stakeholders to adopt their agenda at different levels (e.g. landscape management, spatial planning, development of recreational facilities) to meet recreational users' demands and prevent the occurrence of potential conflicts.
A typology of 5 outdoor recreation user groups was made on the basis of spatial indicators for landscape characteristics identified through a literature review of landscape preferences. Findings from the review were validated in an expert workshop that focused on the relative importance of these preferences. The study refers to the 5 user groups as ‘the convenience recreationist’, ‘the day tripper’, ‘the education recreationist’, ‘the nature trekker’, and ‘the spiritual recreationist’. The groups differ from each other according to recreation focus and landscape preferences.
As a next step, the study mapped where landscapes attractive to the aforementioned recreation user groups occur. This revealed diverging patterns, but also overlapping patterns of outdoor recreation potential for all user groups (Figure1). Overlaps between the outdoor recreation potential of different user groups are a result of landscape attributes that are similarly interesting for different user groups. Examples are similar preferences for elevation for the convenience recreationist and the day tripper and a focus on flora and fauna for the education recreationist and the spiritual recreationist. Generally, areas with high recreation potential for multiple user groups are dominated by forest or mosaic land use and are often concentrated in mountainous areas.