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The Scenic Beauty Temporal Distribution Method: An Attempt to Make Scenic Beauty Assessments Compatible with Forest Planning Efforts

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A method was developed which simulates and evaluates scenic beauty through time with the intent of providing useful information for forest management and planning efforts. It is argued that temporal based scenic information is essential given the dynamic nature of forest management and planning. Temporal distributions of scenic beauty, which represent the level of scenic beauty at each year during the planning horizon, were simulated in order to evaluate the scenic impacts of proposed management actions. Four general loblolly pine stand management practices (unthinned natural, unthinned planted, lightly thinned planted, and heavily thinned planted) were compared with respect to their impacts on scenic beauty. Overall, natural stands were of highest scenic quality followed by unthinned planted and heavily thinned planted stands, which were not significantly different from one another. The lightly thinned stands were least scenic. These findings are consistent with results of past research. Also examined were the scenic impacts of management actions such as rotation age and initial density. In general, decreasing stand density increases scenic beauty, less productive sites have more scenic beauty, and increasing stand age increases scenic beauty. Information about initial stand conditions was found highly predictive of how scenic beauty temporal distributions perform over a 50-year horizon. It was concluded that the scenic beauty temporal distribution method provides managerially relevant information and has the potential to be a useful forest management decision-making tool. Forest Sci. 32:271-286.

Keywords: Pinus taeda; multiple use; visual landscape preference

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor of Forestry and Quantitative Methods, School of Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. 24061

Publication date: 1986-06-01

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

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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