Tourists’ perception of deadwood in mountain forests
In the traditional forest management the non-living woody biomass in forests was perceived negatively. Generally, deadwood was removed during the silvicultural treatments to protect forests against fire, pests and insects attacks. In the last decades, the perception of forest managers regarding forest deadwood is changing. However, people’s opinions about the presence of deadwood in the forests have been few investigated. In view of this gap, the aim of the paper is to understand the tourists’ perception and opinions towards the deadwood in mountain forests. The survey was carried out in two study areas: the first one in Italy and the second one in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A structured questionnaire was administered to a random sample of visitors (n=156 in Italy; n=115 in Bosnia-Herzegovina). The tourists’ preferences were evaluated through a set of images characterized by a different amount of standing dead trees and lying deadwood. The collected data were statistically analyzed to highlight the preferred type of forests related to different forms of management of deadwood (unmanaged forests, close-to-nature forests, extensive managed forests and intensive managed forests). The results show that both components of deadwood are not perceived negatively by tourists. More than 60% of respondents prefer unmanaged forests and close-to-nature managed forests, 40% of respondents prefer intensive managed forests in which deadwood is removed during the silvicultural treatments.