Media release 1.8.2005
The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is the coordinator in Finland of the new European Union project COST E33 with the objective to collect scientific information on outdoor recreation and nature tourism in Europe, to develop the scientific methods used in the field and to create co-operation networks between researchers. Another objective in the Forest for recreation and nature tourism (Forrec) project is to improve the use of scientific information in planning and management of natural environments, particularly forests, as well as in the development of the supply of recreation and nature tourism services.
Outdoor recreation and nature tourism are increasingly more important ways to use forests also in Finland. The objective in the Finnish Government’s action plan issued in 2003 is to double the employment within outdoor recreation and nature tourism by 2010. Scientific information is needed, inter alia, for allocation of development actions and for the assessment of their impact. In Finland, only few scientists study this field. It is highly necessary to share co-operation networks and know-how with the other European countries.
There are three working groups in the project. WG 1 concentrates on the assessment of economic and social values and benefits, and synthetisation of this knowledge base used in decision-making and planning of recreation and nature tourism. WG 2 collects know-how on the monitoring methods used in recreation and nature tourism and aims at pan-European harmonisation of the monitoring. WG 3 collects the best know-how available for the needs in planning and managing recreational sites and nature tourism resorts.
Nearly 80 specialists from 20 different countries participate in the project. The project is part of technical-scientific co-operation within forestry funded by the EU Commission during 2004 - 2007. In Finland, the COST E33 project on outdoor recreation and nature tourism is coordinated by the Finnish Forest Research Institute. Other participants in the project include the University of Helsinki and the University of Lapland as well as Metsähallitus.