European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 511–526 | Cite as

Forest recreation as a governance problem: four case studies from Switzerland

  • Jerylee Wilkes-AllemannEmail author
  • Marc Hanewinkel
  • Marco Pütz
Original Paper


Recreational activities have undergone a change from mainly passive forms (e.g. rest, relaxation, reinvigoration, solitude and escape) to more active forms (e.g. mountain biking, climbing and running). Correspondingly, the demand for forest recreation infrastructure to support the more active forms has increased. However, very little is known about what features characterise the planning and management of forest recreation infrastructure. This study takes four in-depth mountain-bike trail cases in Switzerland to characterise the planning and management of forest recreation infrastructure. The analysis is performed using the institutional analysis and development framework (Ostrom in Governing the commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1990) and qualitative data based on cases and interviews. We argue that by considering the identified external features (formal and informal rules, location) and process features (partnerships, public participation, conflicts, profitability perspectives, time frame of process, funding of process and approval), we can better plan and manage active forms of forest recreation. Conflict situations and response strategies associated with mountain-bike-trail planning and management are also identified. The findings are relevant for other regions facing the growing use of forests for recreational and leisure activities.


Forest recreation Forest planning and management Forest governance Mountain biking Mountain-bike trail Institutional analysis and development framework 



We thank all interview participants for their essential contribution to the study, Christian Hirschi, Susanne Menzel and Stefanie Engel for comments on an early draft of the manuscript for helping us to improve this paper. The Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research, to whom we are very grateful, funded the research presented under COST Action FP0804 Forest Management Decision Support Systems (FORSYS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marc Hanewinkel
    • 2
  • Marco Pütz
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Resource PolicyETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Chair of Forestry Economics and Forest PlanningUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Economics and Social SciencesSwiss Federal Research Institute WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland

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