This paper reports on interim results of an ISAFA research project aimed at constructing a statistical model to evaluate the level of visitor attendance at any given forest site, this parameter being considered the best indicator of the recreational value of the forest.

The paper describes the main steps for defining and modelling the factors and variables involved in this phenomenon: demand for recreation in woods at a national level, anthropic pressure on forest resources at a territorial level, and the aesthetic-functional quality of forest sites. These phases produced sub-models, described and discussed here, that can be useful even when used alone for management purposes.

The method adopted for collecting the experimental data on actual attendance rates at 41 forest sites in the Italian Alps is also described, as well as the attempts so far performed to carry out the final model. The multiple regression approach failed, so an alternative elaboration method, based on a better definition of some other variables such as accessibility, an increased quantity of experimental data and neural networks, which at present is still in progress, is also briefly discussed.

Author notes

1 ISAFA, Forest and Range Management Research Institute, Trento, Italy