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Changed availability of urban fringe forests in Sweden in 2000–2010

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Although recreational pressure correlates to population size which in turn influences city growth, there is little evidence of how such processes of urban growth have affected the availability of urban fringe forests (forests with good recreational qualities located completely outside and up to 3 km from the city borders). Hence, the aim of this study was to examine consequences of urban growth on urban fringe forest availability in Sweden for the period 2000–2010. An overlay analysis was conducted in a GIS to identify urban fringe forests with good recreational qualities. A selection of Swedish cities with >2000 inhabitants (n = 428) was used along with a regional division to identify trends of cities in forest regions and in other regions. Results showed that the median availability of urban fringe forests had increased in all regions, both in absolute amounts and per 1000 inhabitants. A majority of the cities individually showed increased levels of urban fringe forests, despite contemporary urban growth. Availability had also decreased in about a third of the cities, most notably among those with greater population growth. Increasing populations and a future demand for recreation in proximate forests make further studies relevant, as other processes than urban growth have affected the availability of urban fringe forests.

Keywords: GIS; recreation; urban change; urban fringe forests; urban nature

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827581.2012.749942

Affiliations: Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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