Recreational and tourist use of forests in Slovenia is increasing. There are several reasons, among others are favourable characteristics and contents of forests in Slovenia. The demand and the actual use and exploit of the potentials are undoubtedly greater due to the awareness of the positive effect of outdoor activities for personal health and wellbeing, intensive marketing by manufacturers of sports equipment and the possibility of direct or indirect benefit from various tourist products such as wildlife watching or hunting, guided hiking or cycling tours, picking of forest fruits such as mushrooms and others. At the same time as there are benefits to users and tour operators, there are different conflicts at the level of ownership and users of the forest. Frequent conflicts are appreciated as the negative impacts of the activities on the forest ecosystem itself, an interference with the property rights of forest owners, conflicts of interest among stakeholders or between the different uses of the forest, and the like. The issue will be addressed in the project from an environmental, social and economic point of view.
The project will evaluate the tourist and recreational use of forests and contribute to their sustainable use. Work on the project is divided into six work packages (WP). In addition to the first one (WP 1), which is dedicated to the management, WP 2 is intended for the analyses of the institutional framework, which defines a system for the use of forests for recreational and tourism purposes. We will prepare an inventory of stakeholders, their responsibilities and interests in touristic and recreational use of forests and analyse the legislative framework for the touristic and recreational use of forests in Slovenia. The WP 3 will be dedicated to record all different forms of touristic and recreational use of forests in Slovenia, review conflicts and synergies with other uses of the forest and the owners, conduct of a survey of public attitudes (omnibus) and owners of forests to recreational and tourist use of the forest, giving selected examples of good practice or regulation of touristic and recreational use of forest in Slovenia and abroad, preliminarily evaluation of recreational and tourism potential of forests in Slovenia and check the status of the business environment for the development of recreational and tourist use of the forests. In the WP 4, we will prepare a tool in the form procedural guidelines for the development of sustainable forest tourist product and outline the potential for individual or additional business activity in the field of touristic and recreational use of forests in Slovenia. In the WP 5, key conflicts from WP 3 will be evaluated, including the aspects of property rights of forest owners. On this basis, we will prepare a proposal of expert guidelines for changing the forestry regulations in Slovenia regarding tourism and recreational use of forests. Stakeholder engagement is concentrated for the WP 6, although they will actively participate in all WPs and the achievement of all objectives of the project. Important role in the project will have the Consultative Committee established the WP 1. It will be composed of the group of key stakeholders who will cooperate with the project team and actively participate in the preparation of all relevant deliverables of the project. In this inclusive way we want to ensure the transsektoral reconciliation of the results of the project, in particular those associated with the preparation of starting points for changes in the forestry legislation in Slovenia. During the preparation of the project proposal we received letters of support for the project and expressed interest to actively participate in the Consultative Committee of the project from: the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning ‐ Environment Directorate, Slovenia Forest Service, Hunting Association of Slovenia, Association of forest owners Slovenia, Slovenian tourist Board, Alpine Association of Slovenia, Mycological Association of Slovenia, the National Institute for public health, the Association of regional development agencies, Hiking and biking GIZ, the Association for rescue dogs Maribor and the consortium odprimopoti.si. We have also invited: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia (Central), Institute for Nature Conservation, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Directorate of Tourism. Invitation to other stakeholders will be open for at least three months after the start of the project.