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Predicting Scenic Beauty of Forest Environments: Some Empirical Tests

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Abstract:

This study tests the usefulness of three landscape description techniques--scaling of physical features, inventories of visual (design) features, and timber cruises--for predicting scenic beauty of forested environments. Two criteria are used to test predictive usefulness: the effectiveness of each technique in explaining people's evaluations of the scenic beauty of forested landscapes, and the ease of using the landscape descriptions to manage for scenic beauty. The study involves three stages: (1) quantifying scenic beauty evaluations, (2) regressing the three sets of quantitative landscape descriptors against scenic beauty estimates, and (3) relating the landscape descriptors to mensuration parameters. Three groups of respondents--landscape architects, university students, and a general public sample--provided scenic beauty ratings of Arizona ponderosa pine landscapes, represented in color slides. Multiple regression techniques were used to relate their preferences to three quantitative descriptions of landscapes, obtained from practicing and student landscape architects and foresters. Design inventory and physical feature descriptors were then correlated with mensuration (timber cruise) descriptors. While all prediction models explained substantial portions of perceptual preferences, measures of manageable landscape features tended to show stronger relationships to mensuration parameters than did design features. Forest Sci. 23:151-160.

Keywords: Landscape management; forest use; scenic values

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Social Science Research Analyst, USDA Economic Research Service, Natural Resource Economics Division, Tucson, Arizona

Publication date: 1977-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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