Estimating Psychological Disutility from Damaged Forest Stands

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A paired comparison methodology was used to scale preferences for landscapes depicted in 35 mm color slides. Several subject groups, varying in their familiarity with forestry, evaluated a series of photographically controlled forest scenes with various levels of insect damage. Some subjects were told that insect damage was present (experimental), others were not (control). Logarithmic regression models were used to predict preference from the amount of visible damage. Two regression models resulted: one for experimental subjects, another for control subjects. These predicted regression lines are interpreted as psychological disutility functions. Psychological utility or visual preference drops rapidly as damage increases to approximately 10 percent of the forest area. Declines in preference are slight thereafter. It appears that it is more important to prevent new insect outbreaks than it is to prevent additional spread from an esthetic impact stand-point. Forest Sci. 24:424-432.

Keywords: Dendroctonus frontalis; Landscape preferences; esthetic impact; landscape management; scenic beauty; scenic impact; southern pine beetle

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor of Forest Economics, School of Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Publication date: September 1, 1978

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