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Correction published on 13 April 2021, see Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 4078.
Open AccessArticle

Investigating the Qualities of a Recreational Forest: Findings from the Cross-Sectional Hallerwald Case Study

by 1,2,†, 1,2,† and 2,*
1
University College for Agrarian and Environmental Pedagogy, 1130 Vienna, Austria
2
Department of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051676
Received: 6 February 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 2 March 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Therapies and Human Health)
Prior research shows that forests contribute to human health and well-being. In this sense, this cross-sectional case study, adopting the principles of citizen science, assessed the restorative potential of places in the Hallerwald, an Austrian community forest. A convenience sample of adult forest visitors (n = 99, 64% females) completed a survey during a guided 2.5 h forest tour. The German questionnaire assessed the qualities of defined places in the forest. We also investigated changes in mood states, perceived stress, restoration, connectedness, and mindfulness before and after visiting the forest. In cooperation with a local working group, we developed the new Widen One’s Mind (WOM) scale, which showed good scale characteristics. All places received high scores in their potential to increase restoration and vitality and to widen one’s mind. Positive affect, restoration, connectedness with nature and the forest, and mindfulness increased pre- versus post-visits, whereas negative affect and perceived stress decreased. The findings of this study suggest that in recreational forests, visitors experience beneficial mental effects such as stress reduction in addition to physical exercise. To facilitate regional development goals, we recommend evaluating places in forests regarding the potential effects on the health and well-being as well as citizen participation before initiating extensive remodeling. View Full-Text
Keywords: citizen science; green public health; green care; widen one’s mind scale; regional development; restorativeness citizen science; green public health; green care; widen one’s mind scale; regional development; restorativeness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cervinka, R.; Schwab, M.; Haluza, D. Investigating the Qualities of a Recreational Forest: Findings from the Cross-Sectional Hallerwald Case Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051676

AMA Style

Cervinka R, Schwab M, Haluza D. Investigating the Qualities of a Recreational Forest: Findings from the Cross-Sectional Hallerwald Case Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(5):1676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051676

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cervinka, Renate; Schwab, Markus; Haluza, Daniela. 2020. "Investigating the Qualities of a Recreational Forest: Findings from the Cross-Sectional Hallerwald Case Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 5: 1676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051676

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