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Back to nature! Or not? Urban dwellers and their forest in berlin

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What type of urban nature do urban dwellers prefer? Contributing to this ongoing discussion, this study presents the results of an internet and on-site field survey on general use and visitation pattern conducted in Grunewald Forest via a questionnaire; this is a 3000 ha area southwest of Berlin, Germany. The questions were developed in close cooperation with the local forestry administration and targeted the uncovering of user-specific needs and climate change-related conflicts. More than 1300 valid answers were analyzed, which made it possible to (1) identify and characterize different visitor groups, (2) identify reasons for an urban forest visit, (3) uncover the needs for infrastructure and information, (4) reflect on the survey methods used. The interesting findings include (I) the reasons for a visit highly coincide with forest-related properties in particular; however, the infrastructure preferences reveal the desire for managed greenspace; and (II) the answers obtained from the field differ significantly from those obtained online in various respects. The differences found suggest that the survey, with both online and on-site answers, is a major advantage for future studies regarding urban green infrastructure use. These results can be fruitfully used to inform urban forest management regarding user needs and create a better forestry information policy in the future.

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Herewith we thank our colleague Dr. Sebastian Scheuer for valuable help comments during the development of this article. Furthermore we thank Leonie Fischer and Sophie Schuppe for valuable comments on an earlier version of the paper. The German Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food provided welcome financial support through the project “WAHYKLAS”, funded within the German Waldklimafonds, 28 W-C-4-031-01. Last but not least, we thank our colleagues from the FP7 collaborative project GREENSURGE (FP7-ENV.2013.6.2-5-603567) for fruitful discussions and comments.

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Correspondence to Neele Larondelle.

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Larondelle, N., Haase, D. Back to nature! Or not? Urban dwellers and their forest in berlin. Urban Ecosyst 20, 1069–1079 (2017).

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