Every other Francophone feels chopping down forests should be outlawed
Share article:
Share article:

Every other Francophone feels chopping down forests should be outlawed

Credit: Geograph.ie

French-speaking Belgians see the forest as a sanctuary but know very little about it, according to a survey conducted among a representative sample of 1,006 individuals in Brussels and Wallonia.

The survey, done in June-October 2018, was commissioned by Société Royale le Cheval de Trait Ardennais, the organisation spearheading the Libramont Agricultural Fair. It updates a similar study done in 2005.

People in the two regions have a hazy knowledge of the forest: barely 25% have a precise idea of its size – 33% of Wallonia’s area – and only 10% said they could recognise more than 10 types of trees.

“The level of knowledge is not high,” said sociologist Daniel Bodson, the survey’s author. “It’s more about perceptions, myths and emotions, rather that knowledge.”

Close to one out of every two respondents said they went to the forest “at least once a month” and 23% said they went “once a week or at weekends”. The survey, whose results were presented on Thursday in Libramont, shows a “significant divide” based on socio-economic status and educational levels. Basically, the higher a person’s educational level, the more often he or she tended to visit the forest.

What do people do there? “Our contemporaries have a recreational relationship with the forest,” noted Bodson, since 89% of respondents cited activities such as strolling, jogging, hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Just 1.5% said they went into the forest to work.

Asked what the main function of the forest should be, most of the respondents mentioned air-quality regeneration (29%), preservation of nature (26%) or recreation and tourism (19%). On the other hand, few cited the traditional economic functions of the forest.

“What we’re seeing here is a conception of the forest as a refuge, a sanctuary, as a place that needs to be preserved,” the sociologist explained.

Where hunting is concerned, 58% of respondents found it necessary – more than in the 2005 survey – while 37” judged it “harmful and useless”.

Finally, 75% of respondents felt riding through the forest on motorised vehicles (quads, motorcycles etc) should be banned, while 46% felt cutting down trees should be prohibited completely. This percentage comes as a shock to actors in the Walloon wood sector, who stress that felled trees are replanted.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...
Namur Marathon relaunches after two years on hold
The next edition of the Namur Marathon will take place on April 24, 2022, its organisers announced on Friday, as they also opened registrations. ...
Lidl goes on strike: Half of supermarkets in Belgium closes on Saturday
One in two Lidl shops remained closed on Saturday morning, Lidl spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt said. Staff have been on strike for several days to ...
€220 million: Largest ever lottery prize in Europe won in France
A record-breaking €220 million Euromillions jackpot was won on Friday by a player in France, the French gaming authority (FDJ) has announced. The ...
Antwerp exhibition shows first photos after city bombed in 1944
An open-air exhibition in Antwerp will show off never before seen photos as part of a commemoration of the first V-bomb to hit the city, 77 years ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Asylum centre in Brussels goes on strike on Monday
A 24-hour strike will take place on Monday at the Petit Château center for asylum seekers in Brussels, De Tijd newspaper reported on Saturday. The ...
European Parliament wants to sue the European Commission
In a rare move on Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted for the Parliament to take the European Commission to court ...
Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...