Journal Article

Linking quality of life and forest values in rural areas: an exploratory study of stakeholder perspectives in the rural community of Konitsa, Greece

K. Papageorgiou, K. Kassioumis, V. Blioumis and Ath. Christodoulou

in Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research

Published on behalf of Institute of Chartered Foresters

Volume 78, issue 5, pages 485-499
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 0015-752X
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3626 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/forestry/cpi049
Linking quality of life and forest values in rural areas: an exploratory study of stakeholder perspectives in the rural community of Konitsa, Greece

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  • Conservation of the Environment (Environmental Science)
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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This study attempts to identify and associate the perceived forest and rural quality of life values that people hold in rural areas in order to form a basis for improving forest management decision-making. The perceived forest and rural values of two distinct local stakeholder goups are summarized from a survey undertaken in the rural community of Konitsa. The empirical evidence suggests that the respondents associate quality of rural life mainly with the attractiveness of nature and landscape as well as a sense of community life. In particular, multi-purpose forestry remains not only an issue within the scientific community and forest policymakers but also is espoused widely by the local community. The analysis identified certain value preference patterns between contemporary rural values and major forest values; it acknowledged forests as an integrative part of people's interaction with the living conditions in Konitsa. The nature of these preference patterns shows that there may be opportunities for enhancing forest contributions to rural development which evolve from a purely productive-based practice into a style of forestry to improve environmental public goods, strengthen community stability, create amenity forests, and enhance the quality of life in the broader sense. Local forest decision-makers should consider not only the socio-economic environment or the dynamic of the area but also the perceived standard of living in the area. The study observed the dissonance between current forest practices and local expectations. It implies that an integrated and ecosystem-based forest strategy should be adopted to evaluate more accurately the contributions of forestry to local demands and rural well-being, be open and democratic and lay claim to involvement at the local level.

Journal Article.  7242 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Conservation of the Environment (Environmental Science) ; Environmental Sustainability ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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