The benefits of local recreation in the State-owned forests in Austria (i.e., about 15% of all Austrian forests) are ascertained in this paper. A representative survey of households dealt with their local recreation, perceptions of and disturbances in forests. Total annual benefits of local recreation activities in State-owned forests, such as walking, hiking, cycling and wildlife observation, amount to about EUR 500 per person. Based on the respondents’ valuation of the degree of naturalness and quietude, as well as the options of forest management, the current management increases recreation benefits by EUR 13 per person through increased naturalness, and EUR 1.30 per person and year through increased quietude. Emphasis was placed on the benefits of the current management regime of multifunctional forestry compared to the benefits of a baseline scenario that was drafted specifically for this study, assuming higher levels of lumbering up to the limits allowed by existing nature conservation and forestry laws. The results suggest that forest management has a higher impact on recreational benefits through the naturalness of forests than through reducing artificial noise. A more sustainable forest management could further increase the benefits people derive from both naturalness and lower levels of artificial noise.
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