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Selected Publication:

Schunko, C; Wild, AS; Brandner, A.
(2021): Exploring and limiting the ecological impacts of urban wild food foraging in Vienna, Austria
URBAN FOR URBAN GREE. 2021; 62, 127164 FullText FullText_BOKU

Abstract:
Wild food foraging in urban areas can have considerable benefits, but concerns have been raised by public authorities about its potential negative ecological impacts. In this study, our aim was to explore experts' perspectives on the foraging practices that prevent, limit, or cause negative ecological impacts in urban areas, and how different levels of local ecological knowledge among foragers translate into the (non-)adoption of preventive or limiting measures. We conducted twenty-one semi-structured expert interviews with urban foragers, environmental educators, managers of public urban green spaces, open space planners and representatives of research institutions and non-governmental institutions in Vienna, Austria, and analysed the data using qualitative content analysis. A range of preventive, limiting, and damaging practices were reported as taking place at the same time. The ecological impact of foraging practices related to the selection of plant species and foraging locations, the quantities foraged, the foraging techniques applied, foraging dates and the care taken when foraging. The experts suggested that two different types of impacts can be harmful: first, urban foragers can cause negative ecological impacts to plant populations if they are not familiar with the species being foraged or with foraging in public urban green spaces; second, urban foragers can harm the integrity of public urban green spaces in foraging hotspots in particular. The biospheric versus utilitarian mindsets of urban foragers and their nature relatedness were also associated with the ecological impacts. We argue that medium and long-term measures to limit damage to urban plant populations should include population studies of plant populations observed to be at risk, clear legal frameworks for wild plant foraging, and a revitalisation of the declining traditional transmission of local ecological knowledge combined with comprehensive and innovative educational measures.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Brandner Anjoulie
Schunko Christoph
Wild Anna-Sophie
BOKU Gendermonitor:


Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Edible landscapes
Gathering
Nature connectedness
Pro-environmental behaviour
Urban non-timber forest products
Wild edibles


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