Scientific studies have shown that mixed forests of silver fir (Abies alba
Mill.) and European beech (Fagus sylvatica
L.) provide higher ecosystem services than monospecific forests. Mixed forests are known for their high resilience to climate change impacts and superior biodiversity compared to monospecific forests. Despite this superiority, the transformation from monospecific to mixed forests can meet socio-technical challenges that are manifested in dissent or even in conflicts. The integration of stakeholders and citizens plays a key role in analyzing their perceptions and views of forest transformation. Their knowledge is required to co-design and implement socially acceptable options and pathways to increase the share of mixed forests. Based on a survey in Southwest Germany, we analyzed stakeholders’ and citizens’ perceptions of ecosystem services of monospecific and mixed forests of silver fir and beech. The findings show that people believe that mixed forests provide better cultural, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services than monospecific forests. However, provisioning services were perceived as being equally or even better provided by monospecific forests. The assumed abundance of old trees and the feelings of pleasantness especially influenced the superior perception of ecosystem services provided by mixed forests. The results indicate that there is public support for the transformation of monospecific silver fir and beech forests into mixed forests in Southwest Germany.
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