nebligen Wald
nebligen Wald

Criteria for 

Certification

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Catalogue of criteria

The catalogue was developed together with experts from the fields of medicine and forestry from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in consultation with international player in the field forest therapy and healing forests. 

The federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) has been investing in the health potential of forests for many years. As early as 2013, it funded a project of the Spas Association MV e. V. on the "Development of the natural resource forest into a spa and healing forest for therapeutic use". Within the project and together with experts from the State Forestry MV, the University Medical Center Rostock (Prof. Kraft) and other committed actors, the foundation stone was laid for the criteria catalogue of healing forests (1). Since then, the catalogue has been continuously developed. It is the basis for international certification.

The catalogue of criteria and further information is available upon request.

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Natural conditions/initial situation
 

Minimum Criteria

  • Forest according to the legal definition of the respective country 
     

  • Near-natural forest with the highest possible biodiversity
    Mixed forest in which primarily naturally occurring tree species grow and in which only individual trees that are ready for harvesting are removed for timber production.

     

  • Basic size of at least 10 hectares
    If the minimum size is not met, it must be demonstrated that the forest area is embedded in a larger forest area and that visual protection and noise attenuation are guaranteed.

     

  • Opaque parts especially at the edge
    Ensuring noise attenuation, visual and wind protection

 

  • Open spaces or clearings with little or no undergrowth suitable as resting/reclining places or as areas for therapeutic applications
     

  • Possibilities to control public traffic including hiking trails
    Ensuring traffic-calmed areas for therapy applications

Optimal Criteria

  • Multifaceted surface relief
    Relief with suitable portions for people with more severe
    physical impairments

     

  • Proximity to a body of water (sea, lake, pond, river, stream, etc.)
     

  • Views of the surrounding landscape, viewpoints if applicable
     

  • Remarkable individual trees and/or particularly attractive forest images and landmarks

Local climate and immission control


Minimum Criteria

  • Localisation in a climatic area with favourable bioclimatic conditions and high air quality
    Considering the thermal (humidity, temperature, wind), actinic (components of solar radiation) and air-hygienic (large and fine dust, pollen, gases) impact complexes

     

  • Balanced thermal conditions and low heat load
     

  • Low-emission air / absence of pollutant emission sources that could affect the air quality of the forest (busy roads, industrial/agricultural facilities, etc.)
    Compliance with limit values according to WHO recommendations (annual mean [data in µg/m³]: NO
    2: 40; coarse dust (PM10): 20;
    fine dust (PM
    2.5): 10)
     

  • Air low in allergens 
    Pollen load from ragweed, mugwort, birch, alder, ash, grasses, hazel, rye at seasonal peaks taking into account the local tree population   

     

  • Absence of sound immission sources in the immediate vicinity (roads, sports field, bathing areas, industrial/agricultural facilities)
     

  • Absence of driveways within the site available to motorised vehicles for public use.
     

  • Observance of immission protection
     

Optimal Criteria

  • Availability of corresponding expert opinions on the above points
     

  • Forest without wind turbines, power lines and mobile phone masts
     

Therapeutic infrastructure

Minimum Criteria

  • Regular offers by trained forest therapists as well as members of other therapeutic professions such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists or psychotherapists 
    Orientation towards health care professions regulated by federal laws in the Federal Republic of Germany. In Healing Forests outside the Federal Republic of Germany, taking into account the respective definitions and legal regulations for regulated health care professions that apply locally.

Optimal Criteria

  • Regular offers from doctors, psychologists and/or climate therapists 
     

  • Special therapeutic offers for children and adolescents
     

  • Health facility(ies) in the immediate vicinity 
    Clinics, rehabilitation and spa centres, surgeries, fitness and wellness centres  

     

  • Devices for therapeutic applications for motor skills and fitness Depending on the therapeutic concept of use, e.g. for orthopedic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, dermatological, oncological, neurological and psychosomatic diseases (in parts also suitable for people with physical/mental disabilities)
     

  • Kneipp facility
     

  • Path(s) for sensory perception
     

  • Proximity to providers of forest-related (health) services 
     

  • Integration into the overall (health) tourism concept of the municipality/city or health care facility

Surrounding and infrastructure 


Minimum Criteria

  • Ensuring regular maintenance (including cleanliness and
    safety of use).

     

  • Designated first aid point
     

  • Designated areas for therapeutic applications and relaxation exercises 
     

  • Seating and resting areas
     

  • Sanitary facilities (within walking distance)
     

  • Parking space for individual traffic (within walking distance)
     

  • Parking space for handicapped persons including access for handicapped persons
     

Optimal Criteria

  • Designated shelter facilities 
     

  • Forest nature trail(s)
     

  • Accessibility by public transportation (stop within walking distance).
     

  • On-site bicycle parking 
     

  • Environmentally friendly, resource-saving, shuttle embedded in a local environmentally friendly transport concept
     

  • Charging facilities for electric vehicles at the parking lot for individual traffic
     

  • Catering facilities in the immediate vicinity
     

  • Offers to purchase locally produced food, medicines, cosmetics, etc.


     

Signage

 

Minimum Criteria

  • Information board indicating the recognition as a healing forest by the "Healing Forest" certificate 
    Details in this regard can be found in the license agreement for the use of the protected trademark "Healing Forest“

 

  • General map of the Healing Forest, in which all infrastructural facilities are listed 
    Depiction of trail network including trail profile with load levels and difficulty, area(s) for therapeutic use, area(s) for relaxation/ mindfulness, possible landmarks/water bodies, first aid point

     

  • Signage of the first aid point
     

  • Information/guidance on indication-related health promotion and therapeutic services and options
     

Optimal Criteria

  • Signposts indicating the length of the trail and points of interest (e.g. remarkable solitary trees, particularly attractive forest images and/or monuments, fountains, historical sites)
     

  • Information boards on the health-promoting effects of the individual plants/trees or their interaction, on the plant and tree population, on natural history features, on allergen exposure, etc.
     

  • Offering apps, digital information services and/or interactive information boards that provide opportunities for independent health-promoting use of the medicinal forest

Path network and accessibility


Minimum Criteria

  • Signposted paths with load levels and degrees of difficulty
     

  • Use for rescue vehicles to reach the first aid point is possible
     

  • Compliance with the requirements of the European Union regarding inclusion and participation
     

  • Barrier-free (partial) routes for people with mobility impairments
     

  • (Partial) routes with unsealed floor covering
     

  • Concept for visitor guidance considering expected conflicts with other user groups (hikers, cyclists, mountain bikers, horsemen, hunters)
     

Optimal Criteria

  • Paths equipped with handrails in sections at critical points
     

  • Wheelchair accessible (partial) routes

CITE:
International Certificatation Office Healing Forest
BioCon Valley® GmbH (2021): Catalogue of criteria healing forest

Bäderverband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (2015): Entwicklung der natürlichen Ressource Wald zum Kur- und Heilwald zur Nutzung als Therapeutikum und dessen Vermarktung.

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