Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla

Press release 08.12.2007

The scenic impacts of forest regeneration can be reduced

The visual preferences for forest regeneration and field afforestation - four case studies in Finland

The overall aim of Eeva Karjalainen's dissertation was to study the public’s preferences for forest regeneration fellings and field afforestations, as well as to find out the relations of these preferences to landscape management instructions, to ecological healthiness, and to the contemporary theories for predicting landscape preferences. This dissertation includes four case studies in Finland, each based on the visualization of management options and surveys.

Guidelines for improving the visual quality of forest regeneration and field afforestation are given based on the case studies. The results show that forest regeneration can be connected to positive images and memories when the regeneration area is small and some time has passed since the felling. Preferences may not depend only on the management alternative itself but also on the viewing distance, viewing point, and the scene in which the management options are implemented.

The current Finnish forest landscape management guidelines as well as the ecological healthiness of the studied options are to a large extent compatible with the public’s preferences. However, there are some discrepancies. For example, the landscape management instructions as well as ecological hypotheses suggest that the retention trees need to be left in groups, whereas people usually prefer individually located retention trees to those trees in groups. Information and psycho-evolutionary theories provide some possible explanations for people’s preferences for forest regeneration and field afforestation, but the results cannot be consistently explained by these theories.

The preferences of the different stakeholder groups were very similar. However, the preference ratings of the groups that make their living from forest – forest owners and forest professionals – slightly differed from those of the others. These results provide support for the assumptions that preferences are largely consistent at least within one nation, but that knowledge and a reference group may also influence preferences.

Publication: Karjalainen, E. 2006. The visual preferences for forest regeneration and field afforestation - four case studies in Finland. University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences. Dissertationes Forestales 31.

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