Factors affecting the pattern of use of community forests - a case study of three forests in Israel.
With rapid urbanisation in many countries, the need for urban woodland as recreation environments and for other purposes is growing. Due to lack of resources it is important to identify the factors leading to successful urban woodland, i.e. woodland that meets the demands and preferences of local communities. Previous studies have identified such success factors as being, among other, knowledge about the composition of the local community, involvement of that local community, proximity and accessibility, and development of recreational facilities that meet actual demands. Based on a survey of the three Israeli municipalities and their community forests, it was found that a variety of factors jointly determine the success of urban woodland. In community forest accessibility was found to be the impediment for a high visitation rate, while in the second it was the low level of maintenance and development. Only one of the three woodlands studied is acting as true community forest and thus can be used a model for other urban woodlands. Planners and policy makers have to look at the full spectrum of factors in order to develop urban woodlands that are highly appreciated and frequently used by local urban communities.