Assessment of the concept of forest functions in Central European forestry

Bončina, Andrej; Simončič, Tina; Rosset, Christian (2019). Assessment of the concept of forest functions in Central European forestry Environmental Science & Policy, 99, pp. 123-135. Elsevier 10.1016/j.envsci.2019.05.009

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Forest functions (FF) are a constituent part of the concept of sustainable and multifunctional forestry in Central Europe (CE). We describe the origins and development of the current concept of FF in CE forestry and assess FF as a spatially-based tool for multi-objective forest management and policy based on a framework of six dimensions (purpose, type, legal status, mapping procedure, management and implementation). Designated FF areas indicate areas of relatively higher importance for public interests. In CE forestry, five specific purposes of FF can be identified: i) a tool for an adapted management regime, ii) the allocation of public money to subsidize services, iii) land use planning, iv) identification of ‘valuable’ locations in forest areas and v) a basis for dialog between the forestry sector and the public. Three main FF types are defined: productive (economic, supply), protective (ecological, environmental) and social (well-being, recreational), which are all further classified. One or more (or no) FF can be designated and overlapped in the same forest area. The public forestry administration has the main authority in the designation of FF, but several public services, NGOs, forest owners and the public may or must be involved in the designation process. Mapping FF areas is usually an essential part of forest planning at the landscape or regional spatial scale. The management regime in the designated areas, if compared to that used in general forests, is either the same, slightly adapted, strongly modified or restricted so as to ensure the provision of the target services. Management arrangements for providing desired FF on non-state forest land can be supported by financial instruments. The main advantage of FF is that they are a spatially-explicit tool for dealing with forest areas with high societal value. Three main criticisms of FF can be identified depending on how they are implemented: lack of operationalization, inadequate monitoring of management effectiveness and normative designation and mapping of FF.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Multifunctional Forest Management


Bončina, Andrej;
Simončič, Tina and
Rosset, Christian0009-0001-6284-5135


S Agriculture > SD Forestry








Simon Lutz

Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2020 13:18

Last Modified:

25 Jul 2023 21:46

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Multifunctional forestry, Ecosystem services, Mapping, Forest planning, Spatially-based tool




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