Social perception of forest multifunctionality in southern Italy: The case of Calabria Region

https://doi.org/10.17221/45/2016-JFSCitation:Pastorella F., Giacovelli G., Maesano M., Paletto A., Vivona S., Veltri A., Pellicone G., Scarascia Mugnozza G. (2016): Social perception of forest multifunctionality in southern Italy: The case of Calabria Region. J. For. Sci., 62: 366-379.
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During the last decades, forest management systems involving multifunctionality were developed and implemented at a local level all over Europe. Recently, the international scientific literature focused on the concept of ecosystem services. The substantial difference between forest functions and ecosystem services is that the former implies the capacity of forest ecosystem to supply goods and services to society, the latter focuses on the benefits that people obtain from the ecosystems. The aim of this paper is to analyse the social perception of the importance of forest functions and threats to forest multifunctionality in four case studies in the south of Italy, in the Calabria Region (Pollino, Sila, Catena Costiera and Serre Calabre). The study was structured in four steps: (i) stakeholder analysis, (ii) questionnaire survey, (iii) statistical analysis of the collected data, (iv) development of importance-threat matrices. At the end of the analysis, 71 representative stakeholders were identified and involved in the survey. Besides, the representative stakeholders were classified into four groups of interest according to their characteristics: public administrations, associations-non-governmental organizations, academia and research institutes, professional associations of the forest-wood-energy chain. The stakeholders assigned a level of importance to nine forest functions and to ten threats to multifunctionality using a 5-point Likert scale. The data analysis was elaborated distinguishing between groups of interest and case study areas. The overall results show that the two forest functions perceived as the most important by the involved stakeholders are biodiversity and landscape conservation, while a low importance was assigned to the productive forest functions. Regarding the threats, the overall results show that the most relevant threats are the forest fires that affect all functions followed by illegal cuttings and forest abandonment. The ranking of forest functions is similar in all four case studies, while the threat evaluations are more linked to local contexts.
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