Visualisation tools for public participation in managing landscape change (VISULANDS)
This site in South-east England, is dominated by agriculture with isolated blocks of forest. The landscapes of the island are highly valued and reflected in their status as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Recent grant-aided planting of trees has been encouraged by the desire to create forest habitat networks to benefit woodland biodiversity. Additional incentives have therefore been provided through the JIGSAW scheme for small woodland owners to co-ordinate their planting within the rural landscape to create networks.
The focus of the Forest Research work is in exploring the biodiversity valuation (indicator) approaches, including the application of the focal species approach and the BEETLE model. Indicators will be applied to scenarios with and without JIGSAW planting, to confirm its effectiveness and assist in future targetting. Links are being developed with the local Biodiversity Action Plan group – and there may be opportunities to explore end user views though partnership with the AONB staff. This will permit an assessment of the additional effects on landscape quality – and whether this strategic approach (for biodiversity benefit) meets the aims of the policy makers or the needs and preferences of the local community. It is hoped that this work could provide a basis for subsequent biodiversity monitoring.