Evaluation of the commitment of the Krakow Regional Directorate of State Forests and its organizational units to the development of recreational and tourist forest functions*
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Forest management affects the scope of various functions provided by forests. Considering the increasing expectations of the society about utilizing non-productive forest, it is important to investigate the commitment of the State Forest units to the development of forest functions. The study’s aim was to evaluate the activity of particular organizational units, namely forest districts of the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Kraków (RDSF Kraków), in adapting forests to serve tourism and recreation. Our analysis covered data from the years of 2005–2009, which was obtained from forest management plans, financial statements and department reports of the RDSF Kraków as well as a questionnaire survey. Both direct and indirect additional costs incurred in order to adapt forests for their recreational function, were included in the analysis. We also attempted to estimate the potentially lost profits. The zero unitarization method was used to identify units showing the greatest and lowest commitment. In the area of the RDSF Kraków, a total of 1 765 500 PLN was spent on tourism management and activities supporting recreation. Average direct costs amounted to 1.24 PLN/ha/year, while the workforce expenditure for maintenance of tourist infrastructure and historical buildings was estimated to be 60 700 PLN. Expenses incurred for cleaning up litter in forests attained 629 800 PLN in the considered time period. Profits potentially lost due to the lack of management in the protected zone ‘A’ surrounding health resorts, reduced by the costs of timber harvesting and extraction, were estimated to total 58 200 PLN. Our study indicates that during the analyzed period, forest districts differed in their commitment to the development of recreational and tourist forest functions. The synthetic measure of commitment varied between 0.114 and 0.694 in the State Forest units. The greatest additional costs were incurred by forest districts with towns and areas of high natural and landscape value. The Directorate of State Forests took the financial responsibility for adjusting forest complexes to tourist and recreational needs, but should nevertheless seek external financial and specialist support. The issue of internalization of the positive outward effects of forest management also needs to be discussed.
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