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32. The Aesthetics of Forestry: What has Empirical Preference Research Taught Us?

DescriptionSurvey of research exploring the public preference for forest landscape and the factors which influence these preferences. The relationship between research into scenic beauty and forest preference and management practices is discussed. The scenic effects of forest treatments are evaluated and implications for management practices are evaluated.
MethodologyReview of research
ResultsChallenges researchers to "prove the utility of science in the aesthetic management of forest management or return to intuitive criticism". (p71)
PublishedEnvironmental Management, 13 (1): 55-74
AuthorsRibe, R.G.
PublisherSpringer-Verlag, New York, Inc.
Pricesubscription $109
Keywordsscenic beauty; forest management; multiple use; visual assessment; landscape preferences;
CommentsUseful overview of research primarily concerned with providing information on public preferences and evaluation of scenic beauty which can then be used to develop management tools for 'multi-use' forests. Catalogues empirical research methods employed in landscape preference and scenic beauty assessments. He looks at the use of Scenic Beauty Estimation (SBE) and a variation of this method using views sampled over a long period of time (Scenic Beauty Temporal Distribution Methods (SBTD). He summarises some common preference responses but confirms that preference response is usually meaningful only when related to the local forest which has been sampled. Results cannot be extrapolated for other samples or provide a unifying theory to explain preference.