SAVE THE DATE! Slovenia, Kranjska Gora, 18 – 20 September 2023

Abstract submission:

About conference


For obtaining valuable knowledge of how forest ecosystem services contribute to health and human well-being, the V. International Congress Forests and Its Potential for Health (ICFPH) will enable a unique interlinking exchange between scientists, researchers and professionals from all over the world in the field of  Forestry, Biomedicine, Climatology, Phyto-pharmacy and Tourism. We are pleased to welcome all participants in Kranjska Gora destination to V. ICFPH, the largest in Europe.

The congress is intended to disseminate scientific findings to a wider professional public in the field of Public Health and Forest Therapeutic Tourism on the one hand, and to stakeholders in the field of practical use and examples of good practice on the other. We will publish a collection of abstracts to all interested participants, among which selected authors will be invited to publish in a scientific journal.

Apart from the scientific findings, we would like to present expert tools to implement and integrate health – promoting elements and innovative sustainable approach in Tourism and Public Health practice under the slogan: “Health is a new wealth”.

We are at your convience for any further information.

Warmly welcome to register for the congress.

Abstract submission

The Scientific Committee welcomes the submission of original abstracts according to the following submission guidelines the latest by 1 May 2023.

The abstracts submitted will be assessed, peer reviewed and grouped by section. Accepted abstracts will be presented as oral. All presented abstracts as oral will be published in the book of abstracts.




Important dates



SUBMISSION: please submit your abstract  at by 1 MAY 2023


conference agenda

Day 1


Kranjska Gora introduction tour (only for invited)

10:00AM - 12:30PM


Registration for opening ceremony with reception at Ramada Resort Kranjska Gora

5:00PM - 6:00PM


Opening and welcome

6:00PM - 7:30PM

  • Darija Cvikl, the Head coordinator of the Organizing Committee 5th ICFPH and Deputy Secretary of ISFT Presidium
  • Klavdija Gomboc, deputy mayor of Kranjska Gora
  • Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. (mult.) Horst Klinkmann, President of International Society of Forest Therapy
  • Dubravka Kalin, director general of the Tourism Directorate at the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport
  • Dominik S. Černjak, President of The Tourist Association of Slovenia
  • Dr. Primož Simončič, deputy director of the Slovenian Forestry Institute
  • Monika Lapanja, coordinator of Strategic Development and innovation partnership for Tourism and director of the Centre of Business Excellence School of Economics and Business Ljubljana

Informal Gathering

7:30PM - 10:00PM

Day 2


Registration for the Congress at Ramada Resort reception

8:00AM - 9:00AM



9:00AM - 10:00AM

  • Forest Therapy beyond Health and Happiness
    Won Sop Shin – Department of Forest Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea
  • Prerequisites of service providers to facilitate transformative tourism experiences in nature-based tourism context
    Henna Konu, University of Eastern Finland, Business School, Finland

Paralel sessions

10:00AM - 11:00AM

Session: Section Forest and Public Health

10:00 – 10:15

  • Introduction of ” Forest-related Service Industry” in Japan – Strategies for Utilizing Forest Space for Health Promotion
    Hiroko Ochiai, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National Hospital Organization Tokyo Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan,

10:15 – 10:30 

  • Benefits of Forests on our Health
    Zmago Turk, Jerneja Lešnik

10:30 – 10:45

  • Kranjska Gora as an alpine climate resort – expert opinion
    Sonja Šostar Turk, University of Maribor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia

10:45 – 11:00

  • FTHub Method and Liquid Interactions Model (LIM) for Forest Therapy and Forest Bathing interactive and integrative model for psychological health and well-being
    Manuela Renzi, Forest Therapy Hub




Session: Tourism / Multipurposes use of Forest

10:00 – 10:15

  • The use of medicinal plants from the forest in a healthy diet
    Samo Kreft, The Chair of Pharmaceutical Biology

10:15 – 10:30 

  • Forest bathing: Enhancing local community wellbeing through regenerative tourism practices
    Jelena Farkić, Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

10:30 – 10:45

  • The Physiological and Psychological Effects Benefits of Forest Therapy on Tourists in the Kranjska Gora Destination: an interdisciplinary approach
    Darija Cvikl, Higher Vocational College for Hospitality, Wellness and Tourism Bled, Slovenia

10:45 – 11:00

  • Forest tourism brings the world together
    Carlos Ponte, Stefan Batorijs, Universe Mindfulness

Coffee break

11:00AM - 11:30AM


Oral Presentations

11:30AM - 12:30AM

Session: Section Forest and Public Health

11:30 – 11:45

  • Forest Therapy (FT) Training Programs and Courses – An International Comparative Overview
    Darija Cvikl, Higher Vocational College for Hospitality, Wellness and Tourism Bled, Slovenia

11:45 – 12:00 

  • Austria’s first healing forest – From Thought to Finish
    Gerhard Grabner

12:00 – 12:15

  • The Certification of Healing Forests – Elaboration of European Standards
    Stefanie Frech – International Certification Office, BioCon Valley® GmbH, Rostock, Germany

12:15 – 12:30

  • Development of certification criteria for the designation of recreational and therapeutic forests in Bavaria, Germany
    Gisela Immich, Chair of Public Health and Health Services Research (IBE), Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Germany




Session: Tourism / Multipurposes use of Forest

11:30 – 11:45

  • Recognition of the importance of forest tourism as a building block of the bioeconomy among forest owners
    Kaja Plevnik, Slovenian Forestry Institute

11:45 – 12:00 

  • Therapeutic Urban Parks: Sustainable Tourism and Public Health Interactions – Case Studies of Lower Austria and Slovenia
    Udo Brändle

12:00 – 12:15

  • The Pure Power of Nature in the Logar Valley Landscape Park
    Marko Slapnik, Special Day, Institute for authentic experiences

12:15 – 12:30

  • Revitalization of Lake Jasna and Jasna Chalet Resort
    Dominik S. Černjak

12:30 – 12:45

  • Strategic Development and innovation partnership for Tourism (SRIPT) – case study “Climate resort” – handbook for tourism destinations and tourism providers
    Daša Farčnik, School of Economics and Business University of Ljubljana

Lunch break

12:30PM - 1:30PM



1:30PM - 2:30PM

  • The New Concept of Forest Medicine
    Qing Li, Clinical professor at Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Nippon Medical School Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
  • Beyond Nature Connection: the Specifics of Relationship and Communication with Other-Than-Human Beings.
    Amos M. Clifford, CEO and Founder of ANFT

Oral Presentations

2:30PM - 4:00PM

Session: Section Forest and Public Health

14:30 – 14:45

  • Europe´s first children´s health & healing forest – children´s health in transition
    – Karin Kraft, Rostock University medical Center, Chair of Naturopathy, Rostock
    – Karin Lehmann, Eigenbetrieb Kaiserbäder Insel Usedom, Seebad Heringsdorf

14:45 – 15:00 

  • The Effects of Forest Activities on Sleep and Problem Behavior of Young Children
    Ga Yeon Kim – Dept. of Forest Therapy, Graduate School of Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea

15:15 – 15:30

  • Do health professionals agree on “green prescriptions”? A regional approach.
    Maurizio Droli, Senior Researcher at Forest therapy station FVG, Pulfero

15:30 – 15:45

  • Forest Wellness in South Eastern Europe 10 Years Perspective
    Gorana Isailovic – Medical Spa Association of Serbia

15:45 – 16:00

  • A Scoping Review of Forest Therapy Programs by Subject Types
    Gyeong-Min Min – Dept. of Forest Therapy, Graduate School of Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Korea




Session: Tourism / Multipurposes use of Forest

14:30 – 14:45

  • Effects of forest microclimate factors on thermal comfort in summer
    Bum-jin Park

14:45 – 15:00 

  • Benefits of forest pedagogics on health and well-being: case studies from Slovenia
    Urša Vilhar, Slovenian Forestry Institute

15:15 – 15:30

  • Collecting wild food in nature: perspective of the general public and private ownership of forest lands
    Anže Japelj, Slovenian Forestry Institute

15:30 – 15:45

  • Social Forestry
    Manfred Ohrfandl, Msc, Austrian Research Centre for Forests

15:45 – 16:00

  • Potential for the establishment of healing forests in Lithuanian protected areas: challenges and opportunities
    Stanislovas Čepinskas, Kaunas University of technology, Lithuania

Coffee break

4:00PM - 4:15PM


Oral Presentations

4:15PM - 5:15PM

Session: Section Forest and Public Health

16:15 – 16:30

  • Assessing the valuability of ‘forest therapy’ definitions for public health purposes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    Maurizio Droli, Senior Researcher at Forest therapy station FVG, Pulfero

16:30 – 16:45

  • A preliminary study of determining terpenes and sesquiterpenes in spruce needles in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
    Jerneja Lešnik, Vocational College for Hospitality and Tourism Maribor, Slovenia

16:45 – 17:00

  • Shinrin Yoku from the AI perspective: ChatGPTOpenAI ‘s knowledge and attitudes about the Shinrin Yoku as an evidence-based CAM method
    Aleksandar Racz, University of Zagreb, Leadership & Management of Health Science




Session: Tourism / Multipurposes use of Forest

16:15 – 16:30

  • Forest Medicine influences Forestry management principles, and contributes to a new reciprocal dialogue with Nature
    Stefan Batorijs, Carlos Ponte, Nature and Therapy, UK – North Atlantic woodlands

16:30 – 16:45

  • iNature: one’s connection with nature as a trending tourism experience on Centro region of Portugal
    Miguel Vasco Ribeiro

Day 3


Rotating Workshops (participants might attend to several workshops by rotation)

9:30AM - 3:30PM

  • Leading Workshop
    Forest Therapy with Amos M. Cliford, founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs
    About the workshop
  • Culinary Workshop
    The Use of Medicinal Plants from the Forest in a Healthy Diet: Prof. Dr. Samo Kreft
    About the workshop
  • Tourism Workshop
    Exploring Forest: Andreja Košir, certified Forest Bathing Guide and co-founder of Exploring Forest
    About the workshop


*Link for registrations to the workshops will be sent to all participants registered for congress.


ISFT annual meeting

3:00PM - 5:00PM


Closing of the Conference: Farewell Dinner

8:00PM -

Scientific committee

Dr. Won Sop Shin, professor at Chungbuk National University in Korea and holding Chair of Korea Forest Therapy Forum.

Won Sop Shin obtained his Ph.D. in forestry in 1992 from University of Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Won Sop Shin is a professor at Chungbuk National University in Korea and holding Chair of Korea Forest Therapy Forum. He has lots of experience in research and conducting projects on forest and human health for about 30 years. His main research interest is psychological benefits from forest and nature experiences. During the years of 2013-2017, he also served as Minster of Korea Forest Service (KFS), and Chair of Committee on Forestry, FAO. During his term, KFS developed many new forest policies relating to using forest for human health and welfare. He is now a Head of Graduate Department of Forest Therapy at Chungbuk National University enrolling about 150 students in masters’ and Ph.D. programs. Won Sop Shin is also working actively with international organizations such as International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine

Darija Cvikl, PhD, received her doctorate on the topic of Factors of tourist attractiveness of forests at the Faculty of Tourism Studies, University of Primorska. At the International School for Social and Business Studies, Slovenia, she has been elected as an assistant professor in management. She is employed as a lecturer at the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Bled. She is a member of the board of the International Society of Forest Therapy (, where she actively participates in establishing quality standards for healing forests. She strives to highlight the potential and usefulness of the forest’s natural capital through the evaluation of the healing and attractiveness factors for tourism purposes and the institutionalization of new study programs in the field of forest therapy. Her primary starting point in researching forest is the ecosystem principle and a sustainable approach to preserve biodiversity while defining the business model from tourist activities. As a volunteer, she is an active member of the Council for Tourism in the Natural Environment and the Commission for the Evaluation of Slovenian Thematic Routes.

Henna Konu is working as an Associate Professor at University of Eastern Finland focusing on examining nature-based tourism business. Her current research interests are nature connectedness in nature-based tourism experiences, sustainability in tourism firms, designing experiential tourism services and tourism as a part of bioeconomy.

Specialties and interests in research: well-being tourism, nature-based tourism, wellbeing from nature, experience design, experiential services, customer involvement, qualitative methods, responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, eco-labels and schemes, carbon offsetting models in tourism, cultural ecosystem services.

Anže Japelj, PhD, is a research fellow in the Department of forest and landscape monitoring and planning at the Slovenian Forestry Institute. He has been mainly working in the field of environmental valuation, focusing primarily on economic valuation of non-market benefits that forest ecosystems provide to society. He is a deputy officer in the IUFRO research unit 4.05.05 Social innovation and entrepreneurship, and editor-in-chief of the national scientific journal in the field of forestry – Acta Silvae et Ligni. He is an active member of an informal Group for assessment of ecosystem services, where researchers from various fields are collaborating in terms of joint project proposals, exchanging know-how and communicating research with the public. Through his research, he strives to highlight the importance of sustainably managed forest ecosystems, which can offer not only materially tangible goods but other services as well. Positive effects of natural setting on quality of outdoor recreation are a key element of fostering wellbeing of future societies.

Professor in a tenure position at the University of Applied Health Sciences – Zagreb, Croatia and previous Dean during the mandate period (2013 – 2016); associate professor of Public and environmental health at the University of Rijeka. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine (1983-1988), as a doctor of medicine he completed a specialization in environmental health and health ecology and obtained three master’s degrees: in the field of public health (School of Public Health “A. Štampar”, Zagreb; in the field of management of healthcare systems (Medical school, University of Zagreb), and in the field of management of non-profit organizations and social advocacy (Catholic Theological Faculty, University of Zagreb). Certified in LMHS – Leadership and management in helath systems (School of Public health Zagreb & Bocconi University & London School of Economics) He also successfully completed 4 post-graduate doctoral studies and obtained 4 doctorates, namely: PhD in Sociology – Faculty of Applied Social Studies, Republic of Slovenia; PhD in Economics – Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality, University of Rijeka; PhD in Social sciences, – Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb; PhD in biomedical sciences, public health and health care – Faculty of Medicine, University of Mostar. Author and coauthor of 5 textbooks and manuals on sustainable development; environmental protection; circular economy and waste disposal and published over 50 scientific papers indexed in the WOS and Scopus databases, and over 100 additional papers in non-indexed scientific journals and Congress proceedings ( ). As an active participant, he presented at over 75 international conferences in the country and abroad, From China and Korea to Norway, Spain, Italy, Greece etc. Lover of nature, forests, sea, devoted activist in the field of promoting and ensuring the rights of Roma national minorities to all levels of education and a dignified life.

Prof. Emer. Zmago Turk, PhD, received his doctorate from the Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia, in the field of physical and rehabilitation medicine in 1998 and was appointed a counsellor at the Ministry of Health in the same year. In 1987, he was awarded the honorary title of “Senior doctor”, and in 2009 became a senior counsellor at the Ministry of Health. In 1985, he founded the new Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of the General Hospital in Maribor, where he was head until 2009. His functional skills include manual medicine, acupuncture, pain-relieving infiltration therapy and integrative medicine. His research fields cover rheumatology rehabilitation, gerontology, integrative medicine, gerontology and geriatrics, and complementary medicine. In 2017, he became an Emeritus Professor of the University of Maribor and, a year later, an Emeritus Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, and an honorary senator of Alma Mater Europaea.

Urša Vilhar, PhD a senior researcher in the Department of Forest Ecology at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, working on forest ecology and hydrology. She is also a Certified Interpretive Guide (Interpret Europe) and an educator with many years of experience conducting workshops for children and families, training courses, seminars and teaching materials on environmental education aimed at kindergarten and school teachers, guides and other outdoor educators.

Prof. Marjana Simonič, PhD has been employed at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Maribor since 1991. She obtained her PhD from the same faculty in 1998 and has worked as a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering Since 2019. Her research field covers chemistry, analytics and treatment of water and possibilities for Environmental protection. She authored or co-authored 73 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 83 scientific contributions at national and international conferences. The number of citations above 1500 could be signed as an extraordinary achievement. She shows indisputable merit in the transfer of knowledge in the field of educational work, as she was a mentor to 170 graduates of pre-Bologna and Bologna first- and second-cycle studies and four doctoral students. In 2020, she received the “Recognition of the University of Maribor for scientific-research, artistic and educational work” for her work.

Samo Kreft is a full professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, where he researches medicinal plants and other drugs of natural origin and lectures about them to students. For 15 years he held professional positions at the European Medicines Agency. He has published more than 100 articles in international scientific journals. In addition to scientific articles, he has written more than 100 popular and professional articles and is a regular guest on television and radio shows. He was the editor of several books, e.g. Modern Phytotherapy (in Slovene lanugage), which was sold in more than 3,000 copies; Food supplements, which was published by the reputable publishing house Elsevier; Quarkadabra in the kitchen; Ayurveda – a new way for healthy life in Europe… He is interested in medicinal plant research because this includes the fields of botany, chemistry, ecology, medicine, as well as ethnology and history. He is fascinated by the blurred border between the science and tradition, the official and the alternative. Samo Kreft is the editor of the website that educates on the healthy sustainable plant based food (


Prominent representatives of the international community in the field of Forestry, Biomedicine, Climatology, Phyto-pharmacy and Tourism from various aspects, such as: forest therapy, therapeutic and well-being tourism, balneology and climatology, forestry and phyto-pharmacy.

Dr. Won Sop Shin

Dr. Stanislovas Čepinskas

Dr. Gisela Immich

Dr. Samo Kreft

Dr. Aleksandar Racz

Dr, Qing LI (MD, PhD)

Dr. Zmago Turk

Dr. Maurizio Droli

Dr. Darija Cvikl

Dr. Stefanie Frech

Alex Gessé

Amos M. Clifford

Dr. Anže Japelj

Dr. Henna Konu

Hiroko Ochiai Ph.D.,M.D.

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