Skötsel av vägnära skog för trafiksäkerhet och naturupplevelse

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Forest Resource Management

Abstract: A great deal of the nature experience we get today is from travelling along our roads, which to a large extent go through the forest landscape. This makes the forest along our roads interesting to look at from a nature experience perspective. The main idea of this work is to increase the awareness of how we are affected by the forest when we travel through it and find out how the forest should be adapted to the road environment to create a pleasant nature experience as well as increase traffic safety. 0.9 % of Sweden's total forest area (equivalent to 200 000 hectares) is in close proximity to roads. Additionally, in Sweden 440 million hours are spent behind the wheel of which a great deal probably is spent on roads surrounded by forest in some form. These figures emphasize the importance of how forest close to roads is managed for nature experience and traffic safety. This is a qualitative study of how forest and vegetation is planned and managed along car roads. This work is limited to study the passengers' nature experience and traffic safety during car travel. It will also give a conclusion on how road-users are affected by forest close to the road. The study will also try to find out how the planning and management of forest and vegetation alongside car roads could be improved to increase the nature experience and traffic safety. The work has been conducted with the help of a literature study and six interviews with people whose profession is directly or indirectly associated with the landscape along car roads. The work began with reading literature on the subject as well as on method. After that, the questions that would serve as the basis for the conducting of the interviews were formulated. Most of the interviews were carried out during one week. After that, the result of the interviews was processed to become a text for this essay. The final result of this work is a fusion of the result of the interviews and of the conclusion of the literature study. The most evident result of this work is the importance the variation in the landscape close to roads has for both the nature experience and traffic safety. In large parts of the country, this variation is lacking. An example of this is the typical forest areas where the forest is not touched to a large extent along the road. If the design of the road itself is too monotonous, the landscape around it becomes trivialized. The vegetation along the roads is an important element for breaking the monotony, but if it's used in the wrong way it could give the opposite effect. It is also clear that a view as well as an open landscape is appreciated, meaning that parts of the vegetation should be removed to reduce the monotony and by that increase the experience of the nature along the road. One thing that is asked for by people who work with the forest landscape is a rational and cheap way to manage the forest along roads. There is also a need for more knowledge about how to remove forests and vegetation in these areas. The literature that deals with this subject has mostly been about adding vegetation to the forest landscape, which in reality happens rarely in Sweden. There is also a request for more studies on the relationship between nature experience and traffic safety as well as the impact these elements have on the attention of the driver. When it comes to manage the landscape close to roads, a weak link in the communication between the people who plan the management and the people who carry out the management, is evident. If this link is strengthened, we might have a better forest landscape along car roads as a result. In addition, the ownership of the forestland is divided among many different owners, which makes it more difficult to coordinate the planning of the landscape as well as the large scale management along the roads. To solve this problem, a forum for the involved parties needs to be created, something that has been mentioned by some of the interviewees. Finally, the most significant elements of the road landscape could be mapped out (such as the view, old tree solitaires, etc) to make it possible to manage and to bring out these elements along the road in the same way as key biotopes and other objects nature objects in the landscape are being mapped out.

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