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The Effects of Forest Regeneration on Preferences for Forest Treatments among Foresters, Environmentalists, and the General Public

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This study explored changes in forest preferences among three different groups—foresters, environmentalists, and the general public (n = 410)—over a 7-year period for five different forest treatment types. Preferences were assessed for near views of clearcut, two-age cut, patch cut, group selection, and commercial thin. Results show that time since harvest significantly affected preference, with preferences generally increasing over time, but that the rate and pattern of preference change varied considerably according to the forest treatment type and the population group. The pattern of the initial harvest—specifically, the size of the openings and the uniformity of the harvest pattern across the landscape—appeared particularly important in influencing preference change. In addition, results show that although preferences among the groups tended to converge over time for less-intensive treatments, foresters' preferences remained higher than those of the other groups for more-intensive treatments (i.e., patch cut, two age, and clearcut). These results caution against overreliance on static preference studies when incorporating aesthetic considerations into forest planning decisions. Results also caution the forestry community against overestimating the positive effects of green-up on nonforester preferences, particularly for areas of intensive harvesting.

Keywords: forest aesthetics; green-up; scenic beauty; visual management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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