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Title: In-stand scenic beauty of variable retention harvests and mature forests in the U.S. Pacific Northwest: the effects of basal area, density, retention pattern and down wood

Author: Ribe, R.G.;

Date: 2009

Source: Journal of Environmental Management. 91: 245-260

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Tensions between amenity- and timber-based economies in the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest motivated a study of scenic beauty inside mature forests and timber harvests. A diverse sample of regional forests, measures of forest structure, and large, representative samples of photographs and public judges were employed to measure scenic beauty inside unharvested mature and old-growth forests, and timber harvests. The latter varied systematically in down wood levels and retention level and pattern. Scenic beauty tended to be optimized at a basal area of 110 to 155 m3/ha and/or 700 to 900 trees/ha. Older forests and those with larger trees were perceived to be more beautiful. In harvests, greater retention levels, less down wood, and dispersed rather than aggregated retention patterns contributed to aesthetic improvements. Green-tree retention harvests offer considerable potential gains in perceived scenic beauty compared to perceived very ugly clearcuts, particularly at higher retention levels. These gains are more reliable from dispersed retention patterns. The silvicultural parameters studied change strength in affecting scenic beauty with changes in retention level. These interactions are explored in relation to a range of scenic quality objectives as an aid to planners, visual impact analysts, and silviculturists.

Keywords: forest aesthetics, ecological forestry, new forestry, variable retention, scenic standards, Pacific Northwest, forest structure, down wood, woody debris

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Citation:


Ribe, R.G. 2009. In-stand scenic beauty of variable retention harvests and mature forests in the U.S. Pacific Northwest: the effects of basal area, density, retention pattern and down wood. Journal of Environmental Management. 91: 245-260.

 


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